Propane powered trimmers, lawn mowers, and other lawn equipment are slowly, but steadily, becoming a dominant force in the green industry.
If you keep up with our lawn care business blog, you know we believe that propane-powered equipment will gradually overtake the use of gasoline powered equipment in the industry. This won’t happen overnight but during the next 5 to 10 years this trend will continue to strengthen.
You’ve probably seen our video review on the Lehr propane powered string trimmer. Though Lehr is a major player in the residential propane trimmer industry, there’s a bigger point here on which we want to focus. Lehr is a specific instance in an industry wide trend of a move toward propane powered equipment. With each new trade show we attend, we see progressively more companies introducing propane powered equipment. Ferris Industries, Dixie Chopper, eXmark, and others are testing propane on their commercial mowers.
2-cycle engines are notoriously dirty. Yes, propane string trimmers use oil. But, unlike traditional 2-cycle motors, propane engines use that oil for internal lubrication only. Oil is not burned with the fuel source in a propane engine. The statistics I’ve seen state that propane emits 98% less evaporative emissions and ozone depleting hydrocarbons than an oil-fuel mixed 2-cycle trimmer.
The strongest reason that propane will become a dominant force is a series of EPA pollution regulations taking effect the next two years that govern small engines such as 2-cycle engines and lawn mower engines. Manufacturers are being forced to reduce their evaporative emissions by 35%. Propane power is a very viable alternative to gasoline powered equipment and the lawn industry is embracing it.
As we’ve noted before, Lehr knows that the current state of propane powered engines is not yet completely ideal. The difficulty in using refillable 1lb. tanks in a commercial operation and the need for commercial quality units are two issues they are trying to tackle. The CEO is a very genuine guy and his company is making great headway in the industry.