For snow and lawn machines, gasoline remains king

Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:05am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By John D. Stoll

LOUISVILLE, Ky (Reuters) - In America's quest for cleaner fuel, at least one major U.S. industry is holding on to the sputter and grime of the internal combustion engine.

From log splitters to snow blowers, the $15 billion outdoor power equipment industry sells tens of millions of oil-powered machines a year to U.S. landscapers, loggers, homeowners and a litany of other buyers.

While lawn mowers get faster, snow blowers cover more ground and handheld products get lighter, their propulsion has barely changed beyond getting more mileage out of gasoline.

This week, at the annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, manufacturers will once again unveil new equipment with some promise of a cleaner, greener future.

"We do anticipate the trend moving in the direction of alternative energy," said Jeff Salamon, director of marketing at MTD Products Inc. "Some customers do like the experience of being unencumbered by exhaust and gasoline."

However, the answers offered will likely be more of the same.

"Gas engines, by and large, are the most efficient way to go," Briggs & Stratton Corp Chief Executive Todd Teske told Reuters in an interview shortly after a press conference to unveil the company's latest engine. Briggs & Stratton sells electric mowers, but only in Australia.


<p>Groundskeepers cut the grass on the first fairway following the final practice round for the 2008 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 9, 2008. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>