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2010 and Beyond ... Lowering Operating Costs with Propane

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Q: How has the response been from landscape contractors to the idea of converting their gasoline-powered equipment to propane?
A: The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is finding that commercial lawn and landscape companies are seeking ways to operate more cost effectively, while at the same time providing customer benefits that differentiate them. Using propane-fueled lawn mowers provides the ability to continue work on Ozone Action Days when gasoline-fueled mowers are limited or prohibited.

Q: Where has the most interest been?
A: PERC has found that with some companies, adopting one equipment type naturally leads to use of another. For example, with the availability of propane-fueled commercial mowers from more than a dozen manufacturers, some companies are realizing that benefits like an almost 50-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced costs due to virtual elimination of fuel spillage, leakage, and theft.

Q: How was the 2010 response different from previous years?
A: The sheer availability of a more diversified offering of propane-fueled equipment from industry-leading manufacturers has certainly been key. More than 29 propane-fueled commercial lawn mower models are available today. Roush CleanTech's development program resulted in the first liquid propane-injection technology for Ford F-150 conversions in 2007.

Refueling options for those equipment types is readily available. The established forklift-refueling infrastructure is the same business model that is being directly applied to the commercial mower market for refueling of propane-fueled commercial mowers.

Q: What return on investment can one expect from propane conversion?
A: A landscape contractor in Chicago began converting both his commercial mower and work truck fleets to propane fuel two years ago. He plans to have both fleets completely converted to propane within five years. Once that conversion is complete, he estimates his business will save about $2,500 each month through usage of propane fuel.

Q: What incentives are available to contractors who convert to propane?
A: PERC's partnership with states program is a demonstration program offered with state propane gas associations to help offset incremental costs for purchasing propane-fueled equipment, and support safety and training initiatives. The Commercial Mower Purchase/Placement Data Collection program model encourages increased understanding and support for recently commercialized propane-fueled, off-road equipment. A dollar-for-dollar match of up to $2,500 can be accessed via participating state propane gas associations for the purchase of a new propane-fueled mower.

Q: What are your main arguments for switching to propane?
A: Since propane is a low-carbon fuel and burns cleaner, it makes oil changes easier and virtually eliminates fuel leakage, spillage, and theft, all of which are crucial issues for many companies.

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December 6, 2019, 1:39 pm PDT

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