Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The cost in gas when mowing a yard!

A springtime chore that is fun, at first, soon becomes a chore that I try my best to avoid. It’s not like I have to work that hard at cutting the grass, mind you. I have a sit down mower for crying out loud! It’s just that I feel all this effort is somehow wasted. Were it that grass was a cash crop. Even if it were a small cash crop, I would be happy. Can you imagine if people could eat grass? What a difference that would make to world economies. Of course, it would have to taste like steak or something to be worth it for me. With my luck, someone will invent an edible grass that tastes like liver.

So, OK, I have to cut the grass and it’s worthless to boot. I got that. But I wondered just what the cost in gas and time actually was? With gas prices running at $3.75 a gallon where I live in southwest Missouri, I wanted to see just what it was costing me to mow.

First off, I needed to figure out how much grass I was actually mowing before anything else. To that end, I went outdoors and paced off the entire area. I figured that each four paces I took covered about ten feet of distance. I also made a crude map of the area which I broke into quadrants. I then paced off the perimeter of each and then deducted any area, like raised beds or shrubs. I came up with about 11,000 square feet of total area. This works out to about a quarter of an acre. Cutting this size of a yard using a 42 inch mower worked out to be the same as cutting a 42 inch wide swath that was 1.1 miles long. (I know this because I used a GPS while I mowed).

Next, I wanted to quantify the amount of gas used. I went to the local gas station and bought exactly a gallon of gas. I then made a mark on the plastic gas tank showing the current level and then made another mark after I had added four cups or a quart to the tank. After cutting, I had used about 3 cups of gas which at $3.75 a gallon came to only 70 cents. My total time to cut was just about twenty four minutes. Not too shabby.

So, while cutting the grass is still an affordable enterprise for me to do, I still reserve the right to complain about it!

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