Dixie Chopper looks to improve on the dismal realities of the exhaust-spewing riding lawn mower with its latest machine, the Xcaliber Eco-Eagle. The new mower is powered by a 990cc engine from Generac that's been tuned to run on compressed natural gas, which is both significantly cheaper and cleaner than gasoline. Why does it matter?

Depending on where you live and the size of your home's plot of land, you very well may require a riding lawnmower. Here in Arizona, a riding mower would be completely superfluous, but in my home state of Ohio, where our house sat on more than six acres of property, it was essential to keep the green stuff at bay, and we likely used just as much gasoline cutting the lawn as we did commuting to work.

What's more, the emissions from lawn mowers and the like are almost completely unregulated and extremely damaging to the environment. According to Dixie Chopper's own press release (find it after the break), one hour of grass cutting on a standard gas-powered mower is roughly equivalent to a 350-mile trip in a modern automobile. All that for a lawn? Ouch.

[Source: Dixie Chopper, Green Car Advisor]

PRESS RELEASE:

Speed, quality and reliability may be Dixie Chopper's motto but it is innovation that is its heritage.

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

And now...

The next great Dixie Chopper innovation -- the world's first compressed natural gas lawn mower.

The Dixie Chopper CNG mower is officially known as -- the Xcaliber Eco-Eagle. The landmark lawn mower will be unveiled to the world Sunday, April 19 at outset of the four-day Alternative Fuels & Vehicles National Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Dixie Chopper CEO Gary Morgan, Media Marketing Manager Rick Judy and Dixie Chopper Government Fleet Representative Michelle Wallace were on hand in Orlando for the world debut of the CNG machine.

Powered by a 990cc Generac engine, the Eco-Eagle comes with a 66-inch cutting deck, assuring the unrivaled Xcaliber quality of cut.

The new Eco-Eagle embodies the Xcaliber experience with the same features that make the Xcaliber series Dixie Chopper's most powerful and rugged.

Springer forks are standard on all Dixie Chopper Xcalibers, along with an electric deck lift and a new operator-controlled discharge chute (OCDC). There is even a 12-volt adapter, handy not only for your iPod or cell phone but which can be used to charge a walkie-talkie or plug in an emergency light if necessary. The mower also comes equipped with a factory-installed roll bar (now standard on all Dixie Chopper models).

Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel and many cities and towns 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 2001 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.

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 the oil the infamous Exxon Valdez spilled (10.8 million gallons) in 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 in the U.S.A.


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