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Repower Article - 07/08/07
"The New Faces of Lawn Mower Fuel Efficiency"
As the summer months roll in and the war in the Middle East continues to rage on, fuel costs are steadily rising. Whatever reason you want to attribute the higher costs of fuel, it’s a simple fact that the prices are going up, and this could affect more than just automobiles. It also affects your mower. However, fuel efficient mowers are becoming all the rage now, and they’re making an impact on consumers and the fuel market. Small motors that are used in mowers are easy to maintain with the right knowledge or the right mechanic. They won’t suck up so much fuel as older models would have, which will save you a pretty penny in this time of expensive fuel and rising costs.
Mowers use small engines, which are relatively simple to build and maintain. They also use a lot less fuel than larger automobile engines. There are a couple reasons for this, one of which involves the fact that small engines are two-stroke, while larger engines are four-stroke. This means that it needs half the rotations in order for the fuel to spark and create the energy needed to power the mower, or whatever equipment that’s being run on the small engine. This helps with fuel maintenance while other aspects of a small engine simply make it easier to run. For one, since small engines don’t create as much heat, they can be cooled by the surrounding air, while larger engines need cooling liquid to run through it in order to properly cool down.
While power and performance are still important for mowers, manufacturers are spending more time and focus on fuel efficiency as a response to growing cost of fuel. Diesel fuels, which have always been used in small engines, such as the ones that are used in lawn mowers have always added to the machine’s fuel economy. Diesel contains greater energy content than gasoline, giving it more a bang, while also being generally cheaper than gasoline.
Conventional diesel engines, such as what is used in many mowers, can also be run by a form of alternative fuel, called biodiesel fuel. This reusable, natural fuel is made from vegetable oil and animal fat. It runs just fine in diesel engines and is much more fuel efficient. Not to mention there are numerous environmental pluses to using this type of fuel in addition to is being cheap to produce.
Propane is another fuel type that is being worked with by manufacturers, who are using this alternative fuel source to power newer models of mowers. Propane is cheaper and can be used to power many types of mowers, making it a popular new choice for people looking to save money in response to the rising costs of gasoline. Propane is also the most widely available type of alternative fuel and is great for the environmentally-conscious types, as it has much less noxious emissions than other fuel types.
A recent development in small engine mower technology is the addition of gasoline engines with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) systems. This technology, which has been used by Kohler small engines, a leader in EFI, helps with fuel economy in traditional carbureted engines. The monetary savings you get when using Kohler engines that enable EFI technology is reason enough to consider it as a fuel efficient new energy for a motor. For every $3.00 gallon of gasoline used in a mower, EFI technology will make it efficient enough to actually save $0.75. That’s an impressive feat, leading a number of top name brands to use Kohler engines in their products.
So, as price continues to rise on the fuel front, mower manufacturers are coming up with new technologies and alternative fuel sources. It’s changing the face of small engines and mower technology, and it’s very possible these changes will make a lasting influence on the fuel economy of mowers. It will be only a matter of time to see if these cheaper alternatives will stick around, if and when gas prices fall.
-Ben Anton 2007
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