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A Comparative Life Cycle Analysis of Gasoline-, Battery-, and Electricity-Powered Lawn Mowers

Abstract

With greater awareness of the impacts of gasoline-powered nonhandheld equipment, such as lawn mowers, on atmospheric pollution, the consumer is encouraged today to choose alternative electric models powered by battery (cordless) or electricity (corded). This choice has historically been driven by the differences in emissions during use and not over the entire life cycle of the products. This study compared impacts of 12 gasoline-powered lawn mowers and one battery- and one electricity-powered lawn mower using life cycle analysis methods. With the exception of lead emissions released in greatest quantity from the life cycle of the battery-powered mower, the gasoline-powered models emitted the highest amounts of all contaminants, as much as 1,500 times more carbon monoxide, 31 times more hydrocarbons and nitrogen dioxides, and 18 times more carbon dioxide, released in largest quantity from the life cycle of all three mower types. The results of this study show that gasoline- and battery-powered lawn mowers pose specific threats to environmental and human health, whereas the corded models are the most benign in all impact categories and scenarios considered.
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