Growing consumer demand and crude oil prices have caused gasoline prices to rise recently, with the national average at $2.90 as of May 3, 2021, while the average a year ago was $1.78.
In states like California and Oregon, current gas prices can range from $3.05 to $4.04. While the national gas average still has not reached the highest recorded average price of $4.11 like in 2008, according to AAA, the rise in prices can cause an unfortunate pinch during the growing season.
If fluctuating gas prices have you wanting to switch up your fueling options, here are a couple of possible alternatives.
Propane is one fuel alternative that has gained popularity as more manufacturers offer propane-powered mowers. Opting to use propane allows you to sign a fuel contract that locks in a set price. Not only that, but you are able to refuel on-site, eliminating non-billable stops at the gas station.
Seth Kehne, president of Lawn Butler based in Knoxville, Tennessee, says his fuel costs have decreased thanks to the ability to buy a certain amount of propane at the beginning of the year to lock in their rate.
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) offers an online calculator that lets you see how much you could save by switching to propane.
Another power option is electric or battery power. While the initial upfront cost for battery-powered equipment is higher than gas-powered equipment, you are also eliminating the need to ever purchase fuel, oil or air filters again for the life of the product. Companies like Sebert Landscape, based in Bartlett, Illinois, and Plants Creative Landscapes, based in Decatur, Georgia, have either shifted or begun to transition their handheld equipment to battery power.
“It’s part of that whole sustainability shift that we’re really focused on,” says Pam Dooley, owner of Plants Creative. “I think we have a responsibility to educate our customers more than what we’re doing.”
If you aren’t ready to transition away from gas, another possibility to keep gas prices a little more manageable is to try out is Booster. This company fuels your fleet at your headquarters and charges per vehicle and a flat rate for the fuel.
Serpico Landscaping, based in Hayward, California, uses Booster. President Peter Novak says the fuel cost is an average calculated from three gas stations they selected that are near their business.
Note, this option is only available in Dallas-Fort Worth, the Los Angeles area, Nashville, Orange County, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C. and Seattle currently. However, Booster says it is continuing to expand its service locations.