Demand for electric lawnmower exchange program overwhelms Utah DEQ’s website

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SALT LAKE CITY - The supply can't seem to meet the demand, and it's a problem the Department of Environmental Quality loves to be stuck with.

The DEQ launched a new program in 2015 that aimed to cut down on air pollution by putting electric lawnmowers and trimmers in people's hands at a deeply discounted price.

"It was a great idea. I love mine," said Jeff Koford, who bought an electric mower last year. "It's easy to start, it's convenient and works great."

The deal allows for residents to bring in their gas mowers and trade it in for a brand new electric model for just $100. Those who just want to buy the mower without the trade can get one for $125.

In 2015, 389 mowers were offered. However, this year, the DEQ is offering 944 mowers as well as 732 trimmers.

"It's quadrupled," said Lisa Burr, Senior Research Analyst for the DEQ.

Burr said word of mouth began spreading this year about the offer, and so did the program's popularity.

"Interest was so high, that as soon as registration began at 8 a.m. this morning, it brought our server to its knees," Burr added.

The server was down intermittently throughout the day, with some getting so frustrated they just decided to forego the process entirely.

"Those who missed out have been asking, 'Can I get on the list for next year?'" Burr said. "We're not able to do that."

The reason they can't stems from the lack of Legislative funding for the DEQ's programs. The program is too far down on the priority list, and the dollars didn't stretch that far this time around.

Whether or not the funding will be there in future years, remains to be seen. However, the absence of the program is noteworthy.

The DEQ says every lawnmower left running for an hour is the equivalent of a car driving 160 miles.


  • bob

    Nice. Home Depot sells them, but they don’t enjoy the luxury of forced taxpayer subsidies. So a private business suffers because the government undersells them using money it confiscates under threat of imprisonment.

    Da, komrade. All Hail Karl Marx!

    • uofubrian

      The lawnmowers were purchased from Lowes, a private business, in bulk… I’m sure Lowes was happy to secure the business.

      • bob

        So only the taxpayers are being ripped off. That’s comforting.

        You do understand that everyone, even if they don’t have a lawn, is now required to buy lawnmowers or face imprisonment.

        Don’t pay taxes, you go to prison. That’s how it works. Government should never spend money on anything that doesn’t justify putting citizen in jail. Lawnmowers do not qualify, by a long shot.

        Nor does this make ANY measurable difference in air quality. Utah’s serious air problems are during WINTER temperature inversions. What don’t people do in the winter? Mow their lawns.

        Here endeth the lesson.

        Oh, by the way: In Utah an electric lawnmower runs on FOSSIL FUELS. I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain that.

  • Apologist JD

    “The DEQ says every lawnmower left running for an hour is the equivalent of a car driving 160 miles.”
    How much fuel does a lawnmower consume in an hour? How much fuel would even the most fuel-efficient vehicle consume driving 160 miles? Not that environmentalists and their green programs had much credibility to begin with, but lies like this don’t help their cause. They also usually fail to calculate what batteries that need replacing every couple of years do to the environment!

    • Boo

      You caught that false statistic, too. I can run my lawnmower for about 50-55 minutes with its 1/8 gallon tank. Driving 160 miles on the highway is roughly 3/8 of a 14 gallon tank. DEQ is flat-out lying about their stats.

      • bob

        They’re talking about certain specific pollutants, but ignoring where the electricity comes from.

        Newer overhead valve lawnmower engines have to meet fairly strict Federal emissions standards. They produce a fraction of the gunk that mowers did several years ago. They’re still fair dirtier than a car, but they use a LOT less fuel and only operate for about an hour a week. Their effect on air quality is negligible. But COAL burning lawnmowers only have a positive effect on the “vibes” of dimwitted liberals who don’t understand how the world works.

  • Digerati

    I am highly disappointed and angry at how the Electric Lawn Equipment Discount and Exchange program was executed; more specifically the pre-pay registration that happened on the morning of April 13th. I’d went to the site exactly at 8:00 am and tried to pre-pay for both the lawn mower and the trimmer. Everything went fine until I had to hit the submit button and after I had input in the appointment time, personal information, and credit card number. The site gave me an error message. I tried again and the site was still giving me an error message. I had to call my credit card company to find out if the card was charged. It wasn’t. By the time I’d tried to re-register for the 25th time, the site indicated that all inventory was sold out. That was about 8:35 am.

    I suspect the issue with the site is due to the sheer volume of people trying to pre-pay register. If this is the case, it’s an unfair system. It’s not first come first served according to the rules of the program. The site being intermittently down is due to the number of people making requests at that specific time period. If the software algorithm truly is first come first served, then there would be a queue where the first (insert the number of lawn mowers and trimmers available) people that got into the site and had submitted their information were able to register. Instead the site sporadically let the users pre-pay not in order but by how many site requests there were. Donna Spangler had also pointed out that the server crashed a couple of times. I had hoped that during this major glitch with the servers crashing, etc. that the pre-pay registration would have been scrapped and postponed to a later date. It’s only fair to the public. The rules and parameters were set by your department and people followed them but unfortunately your department did not.

    This whole situation just leaves me to think that there were not enough planning and/or leadership in this department. Ms. Spangler blaming this on the server is a slap in the face. By her saying this indicates, once again, planning and leadership were lacking

    • bob

      I’m disappointed that if I don’t pay for your lawnmower I’ll be slapped in cuffs and led to tax prison. I DO NOT OWE YOU, or anyone else, a lawnmower. Buy your own.

      If you can afford a lawn you can afford a lawnmower. How can people call themselves Americans and support this kind of socialist idiocy?

      • analogismos

        i don’t owe you a $98 million broken JSF. Buy your own f-35 to blow-up brown people on the other side of the world.

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