It's quieter, cleaner and it trims lawns. It's an electric lawn mower.
Air quality regulators hope San Joaquin County residents buy one and trade in their fuel-powered lawn mowers at the end of June.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will hold its gas-for-electric mower exchange June 24 at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. The electric Neuton-brand mowers, which normally sell for $379, will be available for $150 in addition to the trade-in.
"This is a really good program that helps build awareness about pollution," district spokesman Anthony Presto said. "It puts power in the hands of valley residents."
The goal of the program is to lower toxic emissions in the Central Valley by 3.4 tons this year and to scrap 1,200 or more gas-powered mowers, county Supervisor Jack Sieglock said.
"(Electric mowers) are cleaner and a lot lighter," Sieglock said.
Presto said that a gas-powered lawn mower puts out as much pollution as up to 40 new cars running at the same time. The fumes are a precursor to ozone pollution, he said, which is created when nitrogen oxide from engine exhaust mixes with compounds like unburned gas, aerosol sprays, degreasers or livestock emissions, and gets heated by the sun.
Because an estimated 340,000 lawnmowers are used daily in the Central Valley, the agency makes it a high priority to "retire" the machines as quickly as possible.
About 300 mowers will be allocated for the San Joaquin County trade-in. The event starts at 9 a.m., and the people who come early have the best chance of getting a mower.
Jamie Holt, an air district representative, said that at a similar event in Bakersfield a few weeks ago, people lined up as early as 5 a.m., but that competition will be stiffer in San Joaquin County because of higher demand.
Holt said that Lodi residents would have an incentive to get a mower besides the great deal because the city offers rebates for electric mower users.
At a glanceWHAT: Lawn mower trade-in
WHERE: San Joaquin Delta College parking lot "H2," 5151 Pacific Ave., in Stockton
WHEN: 9 a.m. June 24 (first come, first served)
The Neuton mowers have a one-hour guaranteed battery time and can cover an area of about 2,000 square feet before they need to be recharged, Holt said.
T-shirts, garden rakes and mower attachments will also be given away to some participants.
First published: Thursday, June 1, 2006