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Use Your Gas Mower Efficiently

If you can't bear to part with your gas mower, be sure to use good practices to reduce emissions as much as possible.

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About 54 million Americans mow their lawns every weekend. And 800 gallons of fuel are consumed to power these lawn mowers.

The best thing you can do to cut down on the emissions from mowing your lawn is to switch to a good old-fashioned human-powered reel mower. See ecomii's tip on Push-Mowers. But for those of you who just aren't ready to make that switch, there are still measures you can take to significantly reduce the emissions from your gas mower.

Upgrade: Lawn mower emissions were not regulated before 1995. Many of those old two-cycle engines are so inefficient they release 25-30% of their oil and gas into the air unburned! Check if you have a pre-95 model. If you do, try to upgrade.

Buy smart: If you've decided to upgrade, do your research and examine potential models' fuel efficiency specs carefully. When you're shopping, look for four-stroke engines as opposed to high-polluting two-stroke (banned in numerous states), and other efficient features such as an overhead valve design, and a Dual-Clean air filter. Besides being less polluting (by 30-70%), a more efficient model will save you money over the years by using less gas.

Avoid another Valdez Spill: Over 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year while refilling lawn mowers. According to the EPA, this is more than the oil spilled in the infamous Exxon Valdez spill in the Gulf of Alaska. All that evaporated gas in the air is terrible for your health. Make sure your gas can has a proper, spill-proof pouring spout. If you do spill, clean it up immediately with rags and dispose of them in a metal trashcan to ease the fire hazard.

Maintain Your Equipment:

  • Change the oil and clean or replace air filters regularly

  • Use proper fuel/oil mixture in two-stroke equipment

  • Tune up your equipment regularly

  • Maintain sharp blades

  • Keep the underside clean

  • Winterize

  • Power off - never leave a mower running unattended.

 

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SOURCES :

1.EPA New England Regional Laboratory. "Natural Landscaping at EPA's Laboratory." Available from: http://www.epa.gov/NE/lab/pdfs/lablandscaping-factsheet.pdf [17 June 2009]

2.Marken, Bill and the National Gardening Association. "Giving Your Lawn a Haircut." ecomii.com. Available from: http://www.ecomii.com/gardening/care/cutting-grass [16 July, 2009]

3.Melvin, Jasmin. "EPA tightens lawn mower, motor boat emission rules." (Sep 5, 2008) Reuters. Available from: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSN0547157820080905 [17 June 2009]

4."Use a Push Lawn Mower." ecomii Tips. Available from: http://www.ecomii.com/tips/push-lawn-mower [16 July, 2009]

 
 
 
 
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