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‘Lawn Care Goes Electric’ Report Makes Case for Giving Up Toxic Liquid Fuels

Glenn Hasek

Here in Florida, I know too well the sound and fury of the gas-powered lawn mower and other gas-powered lawn equipment. Fortunately, we have hit the dry season, and it will be quiet for a while. In a new report entitled, “Lawn Care Goes Electric,” the authors address the problems associated with gas-powered mowers and other equipment and highlight the advantages of their electric counterparts. Be sure to give the report a read.

In the report’s Executive Summary, the authors get right to the problem of gas-powered mowers. “The inefficient engines in gasoline-powered lawn equipment can emit as much pollution in an hour as driving hundreds of miles in a typical car,” the authors state. “In the United States, lawn and garden equipment powered by gasoline and other fossil fuels released more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2020—more than all the greenhouse gas emissions from the city of Los Angeles. That same equipment emitted air pollution linked to serious health problems in amounts comparable to those from tens of millions of cars.”

In 2020, my state of Florida ranked first in the U.S. in terms of fine particulates emitted by lawn and garden equipment. California was the leading state for emissions of carbon dioxide from lawn and garden equipment. Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment also emits numerous toxic and cancer-causing chemicals—benzene and formaldehyde, for example.

If I replaced my lawn with different types of plants and rocks, my homeowners association would not be happy—I would receive a letter—but perhaps you can cut down on the amount of grass that needs to be cut by using creative landscaping. Or at least consider the now widely available electric counterparts to gas-powered equipment. According to the report, electric lawn equipment sometimes has a higher initial price tag but saves money over time due to lower operating costs. In the case of electric mowers, reduced costs for fuel and maintenance lead to the additional investment in electric models being paid back in one to three years.

Battery Performance Has Come a Long Way

I remember the days of corded electric lawn mowers. I was always petrified of running over that cord. Today, because of steady advancements in battery technology, rechargeable battery-powered lawn equipment offers users comparable performance, value, and convenience to gasoline powered models with minimal environmental impact.

If you hire out landscaping services, ask your company about going electric. Some may give you a blank look at first. If they do enough business with you, they just might make the change more quickly. Do a Google search to see if there is an all-electric lawncare company in your area. You may find one.

Will you sacrifice cutting quality with an electric mower? The report’s authors say you should not if you avoid the cheapest models. If cutting time is an issue—ask your supplier about battery charge time—you may want to have extra batteries available.

Lawn Care Goes Electric includes information on states and cities that offer incentives for electric lawncare equipment. In some places you may be required to go electric.

Do you have experience going from gas-powered lawn equipment to electric? I would love to hear about it. I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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  1. I am grateful to know switching to electric lawn care equipment is a sustainable choice. What are some of the main environmental benefits of transitioning away from liquid fuels?