Alternate methods of powering lawn equipment is becoming increasingly more popular. While electric has been the most prevalent amongst residential owners, propane has been picking up as the conversion of choice for landscape companies, as well as for large properties. Is it possible that propane could be the future for lawn equipment?
Propane is Cheaper
Propane is less expensive than gasoline. A gallon of propane fluctuates in the area of $2.00 – $2.60 depending on location. Gasoline fluctuates in the area of $3.30 up to $4.10, depending on location and time of year. While this means that it will cost less to run the machine over long periods, this cost savings will only start to show after long-term use, as the conversion of an existing mower can cost over $1,000. If your machine is using the fuel at the rate of one gallon per hour, you’ll need to run the machine 1,000 hours or more to finally see a cost savings.
Propane is already seen as a viable fuel source for running generators, while it has been used for grills and stoves for many years. Pallet trucks and forklifts have already been modified to use it. Being able to use one universal fuel for multiple pieces of equipment can save time, money, and storage. Being able to grab a tank from another machine to finish a job instead of having to run for a refill helps workflow to continue uninterrupted.
Propane burns cleaner than gasoline, and it does not come with the fouling issues caused by ethanol mixes. Some communities have regulations in place regarding the amount of pollution created by lawn equipment, particularly in areas where air pollution is already an issue. Using propane may mean the difference between being able to mow when you want versus only being able to mow when allowed by the community.
Propane in the Years to Come
With numerous conversion kits available, as well as a handful of propane-fueled production models available from the manufacturer, propane continues to grow as the fuel of choice. It is not likely to replace gasoline or electric as the method of powering equipment for the small, residential land owner, now or in the near future. It will become more common in commercial mowing equipment though, as landscapers seek cheaper and greener methods of powering their equipment. As more technicians become trained on propane systems, it will become easier to get the systems installed and repaired, and there’s a good chance that in a few years, propane could have the largest share of market for powering lawn equipment.