You might have traded your beloved SUV for a hybrid vehicle, but park your eco car next to your gas-guzzling lawn mover and your green points drop dramatically. You’re probably thinking, “How could mowing my puny little lawn possibly contribute to global warming?” Apparently a lot more than you think. According to a widely quoted Swedish study, an hour of lawn mowing with a traditional gas-powered mower produces the same amount of pollution as a 100-mile car trip.
And it adds up. The California Air Resources board estimates that lawn mowers are responsible for 2 percent of all the engine-related smog in the state. Seriously. In fact, the EPA was concerned enough to propose stricter emissions regulations for the industry, which despite coming up against some powerful opposition, are scheduled to come into effect this year. Electric models, meanwhile, are widely regarded as low in both power and performance.
None of this means you have to let your lawn resemble Wild Kingdom. Evatech, a startup based in Tarpon Spring, Fla., has a patent pending for a hybrid mower. The price tag for various models ranges from $2900 to over $5000, but you don’t even have to leave your lawn chair — it’s remote controlled. The company was founded in August 2003 by electrical engineer Luis Medina.
If you happen to have some serious acreage, John Deere has begun selling the 2500E Hybrid Riding Greens mower to golf courses.
But summer’s over, so why now? Because lawn care is a year-round job. If you lived in Japan, you could buy one of Honda’s hybrid snowblowers. But since the company has no immediate plans to sell them in the U.S., you could always snap a $299 snow-plow attachment on your Evatech mower and spend the winter with a clear driveway and a clear conscience.