Mowing on the Cutting Edge
Part 1: Propane-Powered Mowers Save Managers Money
Propane-Powered Mowers Save Managers Money
By Eric Grammer - September 2008 - Grounds Management
With the nation’s heightened concerns over all issues environmental, it is surprising just how little attention landscape maintenance equipment receives. After all, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates engines in such equipment are responsible for up to 10 percent of the air pollution in the United States, emitting high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides.
With so many corporations, communities, universities and commercial institutions placing such a large emphasis on reducing their carbon footprints, it is no wonder those organizations look for new technologies when it comes to the most common grounds maintenance equipment — mowers. With mandates to reduce their operation’s environmental impact, more grounds managers are turning their attention to propane-powered mowers.
Aside from a significant reduction in emissions, managers say they are finding financial advantages in using propane. Dwayne D’Ardenne, CGM, landscape coordinator with the City of Roanoke (Va.), bought three propane-powered mowers in June 2007.
The fuel savings alone have more than paid for the 10 percent premium for mowers, he says. While prices for gas approached $5 per gallon earlier this summer, D’Ardenne’s price for propane remained less than $2.50 per gallon. The mowers consume propane at the same rate as gas.
This price differential reflects the seasonal demand for propane. Propane prices drop during the summer months when supply increases due to a decrease in its use as a heating fuel. As a result, propane prices usually are lowest during summer months when mowing is a priority. Also, most states offer tax credits for using alternative fuels, knocking off another 50 cents per gallon.