Mowing down expenses

The lawn care and landscaping business is moving in a different direction — using propane-powered lawn mowers to get the job done more efficiently.

“It’s quite a bit cheaper (than gasoline), it’s more stable of a fuel and doesn’t go bad, and it’s cleaner burning,” Kris Scheperle, owner of All Seasons Home and Lawn Care, said of propane.

His business converted its mowers to propane-fueled nearly 2½ years ago.

He said conversion of each mower costed $700-1,000 per machine, which included parts and labor.

“We got our return on investment within two years, some of them even one (year),” Scheperle said.

Linn State Technical College’s Commercial Turf and Grounds Management Program began educating students on operating and maintaining propane-powered mowers four years ago.

Ryan Klatt, department chair of the program, said the

Missouri Propane & Education Research Council (MO-PERC) approached the school about providing instruction on propane-powered mowers. The program has become a partnership between MO-PERC and the school. The organization donated several propane-powered mowers to the program.

Klatt said the propane mowers have several advantages — propane is a cheaper fuel; it’s more environmentally friendly; and it is a cleaner fuel and is easier on an engine, increasing the life of the engine.

“I don’t know how common these mowers are with the general public, because the main (propane) option comes on commercial mowers,” Klatt said. “I think it would be good for homeowners, though.”

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