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Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

Running On Fumes Now A Good Thing

Alternative-fueled vehicles have transformed passenger cars, mass-transit buses and even some trucks. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise the revolution has hit landscaping, an industry that essentially is green to begin with. Stay Green Inc., a Valencia landscaping company with clients throughout Southern California, recently replaced its gasoline-powered mowers with new ones converted to use propane gas. That decision required the company to spend an extra $300,000 on conversion kits, but it will both save money on fuel and eliminate harmful exhaust, said Chief Executive Chris Angelo. “This is a way to reduce our carbon footprint while doing the same quality work that we’ve always done,” said Angelo, 40, whose parents founded the company. In May, Stay Green acquired 35 large John Deere & Co. riding mowers, which are used for large spaces such as parks, parkways and corporate campuses. However, the Moline, Ill. agricultural machinery manufacturer does not make a line of alternative-fueled landscaping equipment. Instead, it works with EnviroGard, a Stanley, N.C. company that makes the propane conversion kits that are installed at dealers on both new mowers and older models. Stay Green bought its mowers from dealers Stotz Equipment and Cal-Coast Machinery. Stay Green’s initial investment in converting the mowers was higher than buying traditional gas mowers but it was able to make the switchover work financially due to the price of propane: $1.99 a gallon versus $4 a gallon for gasoline. “Over time we can capture it back,” said Angelo, who may highlight the propane mowers in his marketing. More landscaping companies are changing over to propane mowers – at least that’s the view of Charles House, the founder of AllPropaneMowers.com, a website sponsored by the propane industry that provides information on propane as an alternative fuel. For example, some franchises of U.S. Lawns, a commercial landscape company in Orlando, Fla., have switched to propane mowers, which House said results in equipment lasting longer: “There is less carbon build up in the engine and people are pleased with that.” Angelo said that Stay Green’s experience operating the mowers so far has been positive and it plans to take delivery this summer on 30 smaller converted push mowers typical of what a homeowner would use. “The mowers have same level of noise and power as the gas comparison,” he said. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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