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Question of the Week: Why do you use a gasoline, electric, battery-operated, or push lawn mower?

2008 August 18

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

For many, mowing the lawn is a summertime fact of life. We cut the grass in different ways, each of which varies in its convenience and how it can affect the environment.

Why do you use a gasoline, electric, battery-operated, or push lawn mower?


En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

Para muchos, el cortar el césped es una actividad veraniega común. Cortamos el césped de varias maneras, cada una varía en su conveniencia y cómo puede afectar el medio ambiente.

¿Por qué usa una cortadora de césped a base de gasolina, que funciona a base de baterías, o cortadora de cuchillas tradicional?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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124 Responses leave one →
  1. Samee permalink
    August 24, 2008

    I’m sorry, i meant the machined WORLD!

  2. Chris permalink
    August 25, 2008

    I use a self propelled gas mower. I looked into a push mower after seeing a pretty cool looking one in a green magazine, but upon further research realized it didn’t cut high enough. [nor do any of them for that matter]. I prefer to cut my grass higher to make it more durable and use less water. I’ve thought about electric, only downside there is I’d have to maybe cut my grass in two stages to let the battery recharge. My gas mower is fairly new so I’d hate to just get rid of it. Maybe in a couple years.

  3. Jarrod permalink
    August 25, 2008

    I use a Neuton electric mower and am very impressed by its power and ease of use. The only thing I don’t like is that you have to really squeeze the handle hard to keep it running and it often cuts off because my hand loosens a little over lumps in the lawn. One charge is all I need to cut my .25 acre lot in Charlotte. For larger lots, there is a larger model and you can purchase additional batteries so you never run out of power. I purchased it only because Mecklenburg County’s Air Quality Program and Duke Energy were offering a special incentive program and I was able to get it for $189. Otherwise, these things cost almost $500 which is way out of my price range.

  4. Bryan B. permalink
    August 25, 2008

    I use a push lawn mower for several reasons:
    – doesn’t consume non-renewable resources
    – zero emissions
    – cost savings (less expensive equipment, less maintenance, and oh yeah… no gas or electricity needs to be purchased)
    – helps set a neighborhood example (gold star for me)
    – physical activity
    – there’s something pre-industrial revolution about it
    – a cold one is that much more enjoyable when it’s all said and done.

  5. Martin Offenhauer permalink
    August 25, 2008

    I use a Black and Decker electric on the small yard I have. The electric is quiet, has no exhaust, and I can smell the grass, not gasoline fumes. There’s no spill possibility when recharging and it doesn’t add to greenhouse gases as much as a small gas engine.

  6. J.Janson permalink
    August 26, 2008

    i use a push lawn mower as i cannot afford those expensive electric or gasoline ones. lol. :-)

  7. Kim H. permalink
    August 26, 2008

    I have used a Black and Decker electric mower for 20+ years. It was cheep to buy! No maintenance! It’s so quiet I can hear the phone ring in the house. I would not even think of using anything else except maybe a push mower but they cost too much!

  8. Freda permalink
    August 26, 2008

    I’ve been using a Black and Decker rechargable electric mower for more than 5 years and have been very happy with it. I tried using a push mower for a few years, but it was hard to push through my infrequently mowed grass and took too long! I like the cordless mower because it’s fairly quiet, doesn’t pollute my neighborhood with gas fumes and I don’t have to mess around with cords.

  9. Jorge permalink
    August 27, 2008

    gas. Because gasoline provides the most portable, compact, energy dense power. And the internal combustion engine is the most reliable, easily understood and easily fixed power source. If you have a large area it is imperative. If you have 100 sq ft to cut you can use a pair of scissors.

  10. Jorge permalink
    August 27, 2008

    I use clean burning gasoline engine because it has the horsepower and because the electic power comes from BURNING COAL.

  11. Carolyn permalink
    August 27, 2008

    I tend to mow my lawn infrequently, so I need more power to get through the growth, particularly in the late winter/early spring. Since I don’t irrigate my “lawn” in the summer, I don’t mow during the summer and fall.

  12. Ann Marie permalink
    September 3, 2008

    Our lawn is so small, we use an electric weed-wacker! My husband goes want to use a mower though, so I’m trying to convince him to buy electric. And for all those who justify using their gas engines to mow their lawns, keep in mind that we buy our oil from countries with questionable (at times, hostile) governments, while coal is 100% American made.

  13. Deb B permalink
    September 3, 2008

    We use a reel push lawn mower.

    I like the exercise =) And I can cut early in the morning when it is nice & cool without annoying the neighbors…

    also, most of our yard is planted with native perennials, shrub & trees, we have small lawn like 50 x 50 ft which is a low growing drought tolerant grass witch requires less mowing and water than a typical lawn =)

    And reel mower cuts grass like scissors unlike a regular lawn mower blades which tear the grass – ouch!

  14. Rick permalink
    September 11, 2008

    I have none. I have grass that does not need to be mowed. It requires that I be diligent about certain types of weeds. Silly rabbits the best solution is to not have to mow at all.

  15. September 13, 2008

    I question the amount of “pollutants” that will be reduced due to the excessive regulation of lawn mowers “yield annual emission reductions of 600,000 tons of hydrocarbons, 130,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, 5,500 tons of direct particulate matter, and 1.5 million tons of carbon monoxide.”
    This calculation is based on assumptions and guesses to assure the bureaucracy increased funding. We sure do need a change in Washington DC. It is the peoples money, it is the peoples power, it is the peoples freedom. We the people.

  16. Joshua Slocum permalink
    November 23, 2008

    I use a Victa electric push mower. Battery charges easily and quickly. The battery eliminates the cord which is problematical around my dwarf fruit trees. Electric mowers are so much more quiet and you aren’t breathing particulate the entire time you mow.

  17. Anonymous permalink
    February 15, 2009

    Rasberries are good. I like them on my cereal.

  18. Anonymous permalink
    February 15, 2009

    Consider reducing the size of your lawn by replacing with ivy or some other ground cover. Strawberries, for example, are easy to maintain and taste really good.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    February 15, 2009


  20. BeTrueSeekTruth permalink
    April 14, 2009

    I have to applaud you people for your well informed, thoughtful replies. I was almost resigned to thinking that this global warming scam only had 2 camps: those blindingly believing the propaganda and those forgetting the implications of pollution beyond global warming. Your balanced and holistic views are a joy to read.

  21. Chris Shabs permalink
    July 19, 2009

    I know this is an older thread but I had to take a second and talk about the Recharge Mower. It couldn’t be anymore relevant.

    I just bought an older home with a larger lot then I’ve ever own. After mowing it with a push mower a few times, I came to the realization that my back just wasn’t cut out for doing a yard this size(I fell at work a couple years ago and slipped a disk in my back). I began looking at riding lawnmower but just wasn’t having very much luck. All the riding mowers I looked into vibrated all to hell and *really* hurt my back.

    I’d spent a lot of money on this new property and the thought of not being able to take care of it was terrifying. I couldn’t really afford to hire someone to do the lawn on a regular basis(I was being told it was going to cost me between $75 – 200 every other week to have someone come in).

    After about a month, I’d pretty well come to the conclusion I was going to have to sell the place. It was a devastating conclusion to come to…but then things changed.

    My sister, who lives a couple hours north was watching the Weather channel and saw a commercial for the Recharge Mower. She gave me the website and told me to check it out. So I did…and it sounded perfect.

    It runs on batteries instead of an engine, so it doesn’t have the vibrations of a regular riding mower. IT’s got a big comfy seat, so it’s easy to get into and be comfortable on. It’s amazing and I’m really in love with it.

    But none of that is really relevant to what this conversation is about..hah…the big thing with this mower is, since it runs on batteries, there are no gas emissions from the machine. No gas and it’s super cheap to run. I live in Southern Ontario and it costs me about $.55 for a charge. Not sure about any of you but the savings in gas alone are incredible.

  22. Alan Gregory permalink
    September 7, 2009

    The best thing for the air and fish and wildlife, like native bees, butterflies and moths, and other pollinators? No lawn. It’s that simple.
    Read what Middlebury College in Vermont is doing about its lawns and how the college is both saving money and slashing its carbon footprint at

  23. Oggie permalink
    March 20, 2010

    Well, it’s a good thing then that the world has so many Einstein’s like you then isn’t it?

  24. Piyush Agrawal permalink
    June 26, 2014

    i am agree with you : Alan Gregory

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