Community's proposed gas golf cart ban too much of a green thing?

The golf-cart capital of the country is about to weigh in on the green-versus-really green debate when it votes on whether to ban the future registration of gas-powered golf carts in the city.

Liane Yvkoff
Liane Yvkoff is a freelance writer who blogs about cars for CNET Car Tech. E-mail Liane.
Liane Yvkoff
2 min read

Peachtree City will vote to ban gas-guzzling golf carts on its multi-use paths.
Peachtree City, Georgia, will vote whether to ban gas-guzzling golf carts on its multiuse paths. luxurycarts.com

Peachtree City, Georgia is a planned community that boasts more than 90 miles of multiuse paths that connect neighborhoods, shopping centers, schools, and recreation facilities. A large percentage of families own at least one golf cart to tool around town on, including hundreds of students who drive to school in them. The community's low-car appetite helped earn it a spot on Money magazine's Top 100 cities to live.

But the community is about to weigh in on the green-versus-really green debate, as the town is considering to ban the future registration of gas-powered golf carts.

The city of 31,500 residents has 10,500 registered golf carts, of which only five percent run on gasoline.

The ban is in response to numerous complaints from residents about the smell of exhaust fumes, noise, and incompatibility with the community's objective of removing cars from the road. To gather feedback on the proposed ban, the city council posted an online survey about cart usage and community opinion. The poll was overwhelmingly in support of the future ordinance: 80 percent of 1,550 responding residents favored the ban and 13 percent were against it.

For some families, however, a gas-powered golf cart is their primary mode of transportation, and they fear running out of battery around town. Some have also expressed the belief that gas-powered carts handle hills better, and they don't want to wait for dead batteries to recharge. Mirroring complaints in the EV/Gas vehicle debate, some drivers contend that gas-powered carts pollute less than either electric counterparts once you factor in replacing the cart's electric battery, according to an article in TheCitizen.com.

A gas-powered golf cart with a 10.5 horsepower engine that operates for 2.5 hours each week emits 1474.2 pounds of CO2 each year, according to a study by Princeton University. Current registered gas golf carts will be grandfathered in, but will have to be off the paths completely by 2020.

"It's not just saying all [gas] carts go away--we don't want to keep adding them and for the next 10 years the ones that are here, you're protected," Mayor Don Haddix was quoted as saying in a NeighborhoodNewspapers.com article.

One resident commented in the survey, "If you are banning the golf carts based on pollution or noise then are you going to ban lawn mowers with the same engines?"

Better not give them any suggestions; some cities, such as Santa Barbara, have already done that.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution