Several mower manufacturers, including Exmark, Kubota, Toro, Ferris and Scag, have impressive new zero-turn riding mowers that burn propane. Lehr even builds small push mowers, trimmers and leaf-blowers that run on propane. Propane-powered mowers typically cost slightly more than their gasoline counterparts, but if you’re a landscape contractor, the Propane Education & Research Council will give you a $1,000 incentive for buying a propane-powered machine.
Propane is a cleaner fuel overall than both gasoline and diesel. According to Popular Science, burning propane generates 26 percent less greenhouse gases and 60 percent less carbon monoxide than gasoline. Propane is a byproduct of processing oil, and it would be burned off if it weren’t otherwise marketable as a fuel. Handling propane is a lot less messy than doing the same work with diesel or gasoline. Propane doesn’t deteriorate when it’s in a sealed tank, so you can store it in winter and then go to work promptly when the grass turns green.
My wife, Carolyn, and I tested the Exmark LazerZ propane mower with a 60-inch deck, as well as a similarly equipped Kubota ZP330P. With a single 10-gallon tank, the 24-horsepower Exmark mower ran for about five hours before it needed to be refilled. Filling the tank cost about $35 during the summer of 2013. The fuel expense of our propane mower seemed to be comparable to the fuel expense of a similar gasoline mower. The Kubota carries two 8-gallon tanks on a 31-horsepower model. Both mowers supplied plenty of torque and ran trouble-free through a season of work on our large rural property.
The disadvantages we found in using a propane mower were that the full tanks were heavy to lift, and local propane dealers weren’t cooperative. In general, they weren’t set up for walk-in business and weren’t keen to help. Also, arranging to visit them during their limited business hours was a hassle, while we could have filled a gasoline can any old time at the convenience store. If you buy a propane mower, ask the dealer to throw in an extra propane tank so you can keep a reserve in the garage.
Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!LEARN MORE
At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).
You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.