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Re: Gas or Electric

We did quite an extensive study on this a couple of years ago.  We were proposing a buy-back program with some funds we were expecting to get.  Several buy back programs had been done around the country.  King County Washington had a great program.

We found that the electric motor would reduce a significant amount of off-road emissions and the added energy cost at the utility really was insignificant.  The big argument some people had was that the electric mowers didn't have enough "tort".  The engines have gotten a lot more powerful now and so that doesn't appear to be a problem--thought the perception is still there.  The other issue was size of lawn.  Most electric mowers work best on about a 1/3 acre or less--because of the capacity of the battery.  Most electric are mulching mowers which keeps moisture in and allows you to save on watering costs.  We also looked at whether with the new lower emitting mowers (the standards changed in 1997 and 2001.  While the reductions were significant, electric still reduce all emissions.  I have some data on this, if you would like me to share it with you directly.

Attached is an article we prepared on this subject:

(By the way, while the push mower is recommended in the article, but from experience, its a lot of work--unless its used in lieu of a exercise club membership and you have a lot of time!)


Wendy Fitzner, Supervisor
P2 Program Management Unit
Environmental Assistance Division
Department of Environmental Quality 
P.O. Box 30457
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7957

phone:  517-373-8798
fax:       517-373-3698

>>> "Thomas Vinson" <TVINSON@tnrcc.state.tx.us> 01/09/02 12:14PM >>>
Which do you think is better for the environment overall.  A gas mower, or an electric mower.  

While I believe it is electric, a colleague of mine believes that the loss in efficiency due to transfer means that the electric utility company has to burn more fuel to power the mower.  This loss in efficiency could offset the benefit of having a controlled emission.

I suppose it also depends on the fuel at the plant, and wether the mower has a catalytic converter.  

We both agree a push mower is a great alternative, though neither of us will actually get out and use it.   Push mowers also have a "waist" minimization effect.

Tomas Vinson

Fax: 512/239-3165
Phone: 512/239-3182

Engineering Specialist
TNRCC - Pollution Prevention
PO Box 13087
Austin, Tx 78711-3087