The Growth of Propane Continues With Increasing Options for Contractors
The Latest Numbers The Propane Education and Research Council estimates that there are approximately 20,000 commercial propane mowers being operated by landscape contractors across the United States during the current cutting season. That includes both dedicated propane mowers and units converted to propane with EPA-certified conversion kits.
There are more than 150 propane mower models produced by 14 manufacturers, which includes a variety of zero-turn, wide-area walk behind and stand-on units.
There is significant growth from 2012, when there were a few hundred propane mowers in operation and only a handful of models available by a few OEMs.
The Future of Propane A steady growth is expected to continue in 2019 and beyond for a variety of reasons. First, a season of high gasoline prices really accentuates the benefits propane can offer. The increasing gasoline costs has encouraged contractors to take a hard look at how they can reduce their fuel costs; propane is their solution. Additionally, more propane equipment models being offered by more OEMs means contractors can stick with their preferred mower brand and still convert to propane. Plus, propane engine and aftermarket conversion technology has made significant advancements to maximize performance and efficiency, so the cutting experience is identical to what contractors are used to with gasoline engines.
Another anecdotal sign that suggests propane will continue to grow in the landscape market can be found in the type of contractors applying for the Propane Mower Incentive Program. More second- and third-time applicants are reinforcing the belief that once a contractor converts to propane, there is no going back to gasoline.
With regard as to how battery-powered commercial mowing equipment will affect the future of propane-powered equipment, there are still some significant technical and infrastructure challenges to overcome. True commercial mower equipment options are limited; however, battery-electric is playing an ever-increasing role in powering equipment such as handheld trimmers and blowers. A contractor must factor in acquisition costs, frequent recharging needs, and the proper disposal of batteries once they have surpassed their usable life expectancy. All of those factors can present very real management and environmental challenges for any contractor.