NREL: Commercial Mowers Use More Gas Than Cars

by | Dec 29, 2011

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Regularly-used commercial lawnmowers can consume more fuel than a typical car, according to a guide to alternative fuel vehicles published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

A high-use commercial lawnmower consumes as much as 2,000 gallons of fuel a year, more than four times as much as a typical 25 mpg car consumes in a year, according to the Clean Cities Guide to Alternative Fuel Commercial Lawn Equipment.

Switching to an alternative fuel mower may save on fuel and maintenance costs, extend mower life, reduce fuel spillage and fuel theft, and promote a “green” image, the guide says.

But it may be easier for companies with ready access to an alternative energy source – such as a golf course with an electric charging station for its carts – to use such vehicles than for those without easy access to an alternative fuel source, the guide says.

The guide details manufacturers, models and specification for mowers run on compressed natural gas, biodiesel, electricity and propane. It also explains incentive programs available when purchasing an alternative fuel mower.

According to the report mowers are responsible for 1 percent of U.S. gasoline consumption. In 2009, Google tried to mitigate some petroleum use by employing goats to keep the its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters free of weeds. The company was employing 200 goats at a cost about the same as a mowing service.

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