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Americans burn 800 million gallons of gas every year cutting their lawns — but there's a solution

"There is a revolution going on in my neighborhood."

“There is a revolution going on in my neighborhood."

Photo Credit: iStock

The air pollution generated by gas-powered lawn maintenance equipment is truly astonishing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans burn 800 million gallons of gas every year cutting their lawns, and gas mowers account for up to 5% of the total air pollution in the United States.

To put it in more basic terms, one hour of mowing your lawn with a gas-powered mower produces the same amount of air pollution as driving a Toyota Camry 1,100 miles from Los Angeles to Denver, according to CleanTechnica. High levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides enter the atmosphere with the use of gas mowers. 

The EPA also says that Americans spill 17 million gallons of gas every year while refueling their equipment — more than was famously spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska.

Fortunately, gas mowers are on the way out, and electricity-powered lawn care equipment is on the way in. John Deere recently started working with a battery-powered lawn equipment supplier, and Home Depot recently announced that 85% of the outdoor lawn equipment it sells will be electric by 2028. 

While some skeptics have raised concerns that electric mowers are less powerful than gas ones, that has not proved to be the case. One longtime public works employee, who was initially doubtful, told the Washington Post that he has since switched to all-electric mowers, blowers, weed whips, and chain saws. "It proved me wrong," he said. "You ain't got to wear ear protection [and] you don't have to worry about coming home smelling like gas."

And, of course, there is always the more environmentally friendly option of not keeping a closely trimmed grass lawn in the first place.

In response to the statistic about Americans using 800 million gallons of gas on mowing per year, the Redditors of the r/todayilearned subreddit had plenty to say on the topic.

"There is a revolution going on in my neighborhood. Electric mowers are becoming the norm," wrote one commenter.

"I don't understand what it is with boomers and their lawns. I hate cutting grass. My parents are just so [nitpicky] about it. It has to be perfect," wrote another.

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