In the News

The Quest for Alternatives

Switching to greener fuels often makes financial sense—on top of being better for the environment. So why aren’t more companies saving greenbacks by going green? Education is the key.

Hey, Eric Hansen from Competitive Lawn Service here again talking about alternative fuels.

I had a discussion with a vendor this week, and after explaining to him the financial and environmental benefits that I see in alternative fuel and specifically propane, he only had one question.

“Why isn’t everyone looking at this?”

That’s a great question.

The manufacturers in our industry are lined up with new equipment releases for 2010 that run on propane. The Ford/Roush F Series 100 percent propane-powered trucks are available and ready. Distributers of propane fuel can provide deliveries to most everywhere in the country for our industry. The landscape industry can begin to switch to alternative fuel for trucks and equipment if they choose to do so and if they know how.

This week I will be speaking at the Propane Engine Fuel Summit outside of Washington. This event and “webinar” sponsored by the Propane Education and Research Council will have representation from all areas of alternative fuel for our industry.

The question I believe that everyone is asking in the propane industry, as well as our industry, is Why isn’t everyone looking at this?

I may just have the answer. It starts with the entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur has no blueprint. Each and every forward step that we take is a guess, a test, a new place that no one has been yet. That is the way that it is with anything new. The entrepreneur may invent something new. Much more likely the entrepreneur takes what is out there and assembles it into something new, different, better. After all of these pieces have been assembled and a blueprint is created, it all can seem so simple and easy to replicate.

Running a company that uses alternative fuel changes how a company operates every day. For our company, it is not just the equipment or the trucks or the fill station. There are so many additional items that need to be addressed. Federal, state, and local regulations, employee training, maintenance requirements, vendors, repair parts, ever-changing tax credits, and over-the-road fuel taxes are all part of this journey into the unknown.

Propane as an alternative fuel for our industry needs a blueprint, a correct assembly of all the pieces to switch to 100 percent alternative fuel. This switch needs to be financially and environmentally viable for a company to do. This significantly reduces the risk of change. Without this blueprint, propane becomes a great idea that never takes hold.

This year we will be able to create this blueprint that can make it easy and simple for our industry to move forward with clean-burning propane as alternative fuel. Competitive Lawn Service can show how all of these pieces can be put together and how each company can receive financial benefit as well as a significant environmental benefit by switching to propane.