That's the title of a new essay in the popular magazine The Week. "Seriously" is of course the touch that makes the title work. It's related to the main point that the author, Ryan Cooper, wants to argue. Minor-seeming as the "lawn equipment" question might sound, it's actually a serious environmental and public-health issue. Crucially, as Cooper points out, in just the era where nearly every part of the mechanized infrastructure is under pressure to clean up -- automobiles and trucks, airplanes and ships, power generation and heating -- two-stroke gas engines are increasing anomalies. As Cooper puts it:
"Gas-powered leaf blowers are indeed bad. But the problem runs deeper. In fact, all small gasoline engines — used in things like weed whackers, lawn mowers, tillers, and so forth — are astoundingly filthy and should be phased out as soon as possible. It's time to electrify all lawn equipment.
"The problem with small engines is that they generally have a primitive design and little or no emissions control technology. And with people fueling their small tanks with jerry cans, they also tend to lead to lots of spills. While cars and trucks have leaped ahead with catalytic converters, advanced combustion techniques, and computer-controlled fuel injection, small engines are still using technology that was outdated in the 1960s. Worst of all are two-stroke engines, which require oil to be mixed in with the fuel, about a third of which is forced out the exhaust instead of being burned, and so produce immense pollution as a basic function of operating."
The greater anomaly, of course -- though a hopeful one -- is that much cleaner, quieter, healthier alternatives are available in the form of electric powered equipment.