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Dixie Chopper unveils world's first natural gas-powered mower

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Speed, quality and reliability may be Dixie Chopper's motto, but it is innovation that is the heritage of the Putnam County company.

First commercial zero-turn mower. First manufacturer to truly maximize horsepower. First true propane-powered mower. First to offer three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty on its products.

And now ... make way for the next great Dixie Chopper innovation as the local company makes industry history again with the development of the world's first compressed natural gas lawn mower.

The Dixie Chopper CNG mower -- officially known as the Xcaliber Eco-Eagle -- will be unveiled to the world at outset of the four-day Alternative Fuels & Vehicles National Conference & Expo Sunday n Orlando, Fla.

Prototypes and demos have been built and full production of the CNG Mower is scheduled to begin in early May at Dixie's facilities in Fillmore.

Powered by a 990cc Generac engine, the Eco-Eagle comes with a 66-inch cutting deck, assuring the unrivaled Xcaliber quality of cut. The Eco-Eagle embodies the Xcaliber experience with the same features that make the mower series Dixie Chopper's most powerful and rugged zero-turn model.

Why compressed natural gas?

Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel and many cities and towns across the country are changing over their fleets of vehicles and machines to run on this fuel. Since natural gas is plentiful in the U.S., Dixie Chopper believes demand for this mower will only grow as natural gas becomes easier to obtain for the average property owner.

Why worry about cleaner-burning lawn mowers?

Studies (including a recent Swedish survey) have shown that air pollution from cutting grass for one hour with a gasoline-powered mower is nearly equivalent to that from a 350-mile automobile trip. Gasoline mowers emit hydrocarbons, and older models with powerful but less efficient two-cycle engines can release as much as 30 percent of their oil and gasoline unburned into the air.

Over the course of one year, a gasoline-powered mower spews 87 pounds of greenhouse gas (CO2) and 54 pounds of other pollutants, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Amazingly, that is as much air pollution as 43 new cars being driven 12,000 miles.

Need a visual on that? Look out the window at your company parking lot the next time the lawn service mows the grounds. Those cars are sitting idly for 8-10 hours, but the gasoline-fueled mower is working and emitting hydrocarbons for basically that entire 8- to 10- hour day.

Meanwhile, the EPA says the 54 million Americans mowing their lawns each weekend with gasoline-powered mowers may be contributing as much as five percent of the nation's air pollution.

Need another shocker? The EPA estimates that 17 million gallons of fuel -- mostly gasoline -- are spilled each year while lawn equipment is being refilled. That is more than all of the oil the infamous Exxon Valdez spilled

(10.8 million gallons) into the Gulf of Alaska in 1989. In addition to groundwater contamination, spilled fuel evaporates into the air and contributes to smog-forming ozone when cooked by sunlight and heat.

Although compressed natural gas (CNG) does produce greenhouse gases during combustion, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to gasoline, diesel or propane. It also is much safer than other fuels in case of a spill (natural gas is lighter than air, but disperses quickly when released).

A fossil fuel, CNG is made by compressing natural gas -- mainly composed of methane -- to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure.

In response to ever-rising fuel prices and ongoing environmental concerns, CNG is being used in traditional internal combustion gasoline-engine cars that have been converted into dual-fuel vehicles (gasoline/CNG).

CNG also is starting to be utilized in light-duty pickup trucks, delivery trucks, buses, trains -- and now, Dixie Chopper lawn mowers.

Backed by the best warranties in the industry -- including Dixie's new three-year, bumper-to-bumper guarantee -- the Eco-Eagle is enhanced by the same speed, quality and reliability standard on all Dixie Chopper models.

And like every Dixie Chopper ever built, it has been manufactured and assembled not only in the U.S.A., but right here in Greencastle and Fillmore, where Dixie Chopper was founded in April 1980.

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So does this mean business will pick back up or is picking up, therefore, all the employees that got laid off will get called back?

-- Posted by what_it's_worth on Sat, Apr 18, 2009, at 1:07 AM

Nice try DC, I still do not think people in this economy who can barely afford groceries and gas for their car can afford a $8,000. to $10,000. lawn mower. Maybe it will work for the "industry or commercial cutters". But not regular folks. I have a lawnmower that works just fine and has for 8 years with no troubles and I paid $800. for it, I just don;t think it's realistic. But as I said the thought behind it is great, everyone should go green.

-- Posted by tjchopper on Sat, Apr 18, 2009, at 9:48 AM

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