A consideration that is easily overlooked but can play a large factor in overall equipment cost is fuel. Contractors must decide if they are looking for a mower powered by gasoline, diesel or propane-fueled engines. Ideally, a contractor should want to run a single fuel source in every piece of equipment within his or her company to streamline maintenance and job site upkeep.
A mower with a gasoline engine can consume about 2 gallons an hour when mowing, whereas a diesel engine will consume between one-half to 1 gallon depending on the mower’s size, says Mike Simmon, a communications specialist with The Grasshopper Co.
The gasoline will cost the buyer about $2,000 more upfront, and long-term fuel expense will be greater than with diesel, Simmon says. The diesel engine is able to use significantly less fuel than gasoline and propane because of the engine makeup and, therefore, will cost less per hour. Diesel engines in mowers burn cleaner than ever with the emissions requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Grasshopper Company has a fuel expense and emissions calculator on its website to help estimate fuel expenses per year and also compare savings based on fuel types (www.grasshopperfuelsavings.com).
A contractor will have to compare his initial budget versus what he will have on a monthly basis to determine the right fuel type for his or her fleet.
Basing purchases off of what already works for a contractor may also be a smart idea, Simmon says. If every piece of equipment is run with gasoline, buying a mower run with different fuel won’t make sense as far as maintenance and supplies are concerned, he explains.