Originally Posted by thunderthud
I'm running a Scag Turf Tiger 60" and a Toro G3 60." I bought both this year to experiment before replacing my mower fleet with one or the other. I also bought one Scag with the EFI and one Toro with the EFI.
We normally have one crew out of the twelve who does pure R&D year in, year out. If we want to buy a fleet of machines, we test it out with these guys. So this year we had to move to two R&D crews with the new mowers. For 8 weeks we would alternate the propane mower and the gas mower from each truck and cut perpendicular to the last weeks cut so each week the same mower would be cutting the same direction. Then for the next 8 weeks we would run the propane mowers only if the gas and propane were even. Then for the following 4 weeks we would swap mowers between the two crews so the Scag and Toro would be used by different crews.
The Scag was .99gph on the EFI, and 1.2gph Propane.
The Toro was .89gph on the EFI, and 1.1gph Propane.
I primarily cut flat areas with very few hills, the bulk being office parks with Kentucky Bluegrass. My mowers are serviced in house, and from the time they come into the shop, they are maintained by my mechanic. We did the first oil change before it had an hour on the meter, and replaced the factory hydraulic oil with Cat Bio HYDO. The machines are stock except for the factory stripe kit, the light lkit and the front weights we added midway through the season.
Propane started to make better financial sense when we built the refueling station. It is very expensive to have a bunch of individual tanks filled at the local gas supplier versus the fixed cost of your own employee doing it nightly. Most of the places charged like I was filling a big grill tank versus the commercial client I am.
What is missing from the discussion is what incentives are available to companies to get more of this equipment out in the field. The conversion kits are really not a business case because I'm doing all the work to make the conversion. It's almost a hobby versus a business. No one locally was talking conversions or even offering incentives to help. I had to go out and find my own incentives and grants, apply on my own, and figure out the process on my own.
Simply put, if the grants weren't available to me to build my refueling station, the costs would not be beneficial to my company. With the infrastructure on site, the numbers make much better sense. I have 19 mowers now, and will be adding three more with the next order making a total of 22 in my fleet. So for the first time, we'll have all propane mowers for the primary mowers, the Wright Standers and the Walkers still be gas until a factory option becomes available.
To be perfectly honest the propane mowers and trucks are stopgaps to getting to CNG in my opinion. When I built my refueling station, I did CNG as well. CNG is a fraction of the cost of LPG. I look forward to testing a Dixie Chooper CNG mower next season.
Those numbers make sense to what I thought they would turn out. I'm a 5 mower outfit with 2 not getting a high amount hours so getting a grant for a refueling station may be hard to get but will look into them just in case. I have the accountant searching on his end also.
Your $1.76/gal for propane is a good rate. Right now pre buy is at $1.99 compared to $1.49 last year (cash price/no cc's). But buying per tank is more expensive per gal than gas. I didn't get a call back from a propane outfit today so I'll try again tomorrow, I believe since they are in a industrial park they'll have a tank exchange program they also have a autogas pump. They are 15 miles away though.
Any one else out there with info?