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NREL: Commercial Mowers Use More Gas Than Cars

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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5 thoughts on “NREL: Commercial Mowers Use More Gas Than Cars

  1. A better alternative is xeriscaping or nature-scaping. By replacing water thirsty grass with native plants that can survive droughts or other typical weather, reduces water use and a few trims of vegetation a year, replaces gas guzzling mowers and the gas use and noise of blowers!

  2. I find this story misleading and here is why. At first reading this head line I had to ask “Really commercial lawn mowers use more gas than cars ?? – Come On” So how I first interpret this tag line in my head.. I total all the fuel used by “commercial lawn mowers” and then add the “total gas used by cars” and lets use the USA because the article is not clear as to where? According to the EIA – in 2009 the USA used – 3,283,730,000 barrels x 42 = 137,916,660,000 gallons of GAS… by my count you have to mow alot of grass with that much gas..

  3. The numbers seem to hold-up.
    If a 27 hp Z cuts 150 days a year and works 8 hours (actual run-time) and burns two gallons per hour; that’s 2400 gallons for the season. If the typical driver puts 20,000 miles per year on their car and gets 20 mpg, that’s 1000 gallons.
    There can be some variation here but the premise adds-up.

  4. All the more reason why Data Centers need to account for ALL energy used within and on the data center site, including contracted services and associated energy in their PUE calculations. We have been saying this for quite some time. Nice to see that commercial mower source energy and emissions are finally being recognized as significant.

    We covered this concept, RE data centers, PUE, and landscaping http://bit.ly/sgGQz7 and are delighted to see the additional attention.

  5. Why is it so hard? I have been, for almost two years, trying to get a conversion to CNG for my truck. The cost alone makes it almost prohibitive. I have to put a lot of value on the smug factor to justify it even with 30K+ miles and any tax offset. The parts alone don’t cost that much and the expertise isn’t that difficult. (I safely maintain xray equipment and comply with state and federal regulations as a comparison.) So why is it so pricey?

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