Propane: A Viable Choice for Alternative Fuels

  July 20, 2011

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip looks at the benefits of using propane in grounds equipment fleets.

As environmental responsibility grows among their organizations, grounds managers in institutional and commercial facilities are focusing more of their efforts on learning about the potential benefits and applications of mowers and utility vehicles featuring engines powered by propane.

Among the benefits of propane is it has a smaller impact on the environment, as well as an organization's bottom line, and it is available through an established distribution system. A growing number of managers are trying to determine if their organizations' needs can benefit from the advantages propane offers.

For example, propane-fueled pickup trucks emit lower levels of carbon and greenhouse gases than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Compared to gasoline engines, propane vehicles reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by an average of 19 percent, cut nitrogen-oxide emissions by 20 percent, and lower carbon-monoxide emissions by up to 60 percent.

Some propane-fueled trucks offer new liquid-propane injection systems that provide the same horsepower, torque, and towing capacity as gasoline versions of the trucks.

Economics play an important part in any grounds manager's decision on whether or not to upgrade equipment. That said, propane mowers are about 20 percent less expensive to operate than their gasoline-powered counterparts. So in just months, these operational savings can help balance the initial cost of propane mowers

Beyond that, tanks for propane mowers tend to be larger than tanks for gasoline mowers, so propane units can provide longer run times, and less frequent refueling means fewer chances for spilled and wasted fuel.


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