A grounds crewman on a John Deere mower
A grounds crewman on a John Deere mower - 
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Stacey Vanek-Smith: Higher gas prices aren't just affecting road warriors. They're affecting lawn warriors, too. But many mowers aren't just gas guzzlers, they're big-time polluters. A riding mower can emit as much smog as 34 cars. Now the government's working on stricter emissions standards. Marketplace's Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: The Environmental Protection Agency is close to finalizing new rules to cut emissions from mowers by 35 percent. Manufacturers fought the reductions for years, but they had a change of heart when retailers showed interest in cleaner mowers.

Chris Kaiser is with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. He welcomes the new standards.

Chris Kaiser: We believe them to be fair and achievable, and our members will meet or exceed them.

Kaiser says they'll do that with better fuel efficiency and catalytic converters that reduce emissions. The California Air Resources Board estimates the changes will boost the price of some mowers by 18 percent. But those higher costs could be offset by the benefits of cleaner air.

Frank O'Donnell is with Clean Air Watch:

Frank O'Donnell: They will prevent premature death, they will prevent sickness.

The EPA says total public health savings from the new rules could top $3 billion. The agency expects to issue the standards next month.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.