lawn mower on lawn with a jerry can

How Much Gas Does A Lawn Mower Use?

Lawn mowers are a staple to homes with outdoor areas cultivated with grass. They help maintain the health and growth of grass patches on your lawn.

Your nifty lawn mower’s internal combustion engines need fuel to work as they should. The next question on your mind is probably how much gas does a lawn mower use?

Gas usage is usually more or less half a gallon to two gallons per hour. How much you use for your lawn depends on your lawn size and the lawn mower you have.

In this article, we’ll go over the average fuel costs to operate and other factors that affect this number.

man pouring gas into a lawn mower

Factors That Affect Your Lawn Mower’s Gas Usage

There are some factors you have to consider first before you can find out the exact amount of gas needed for your lawn mower. Here are three of the most common ones that affect a lawn mower’s gas usage.

Engine Size

The amount of gas you’ll need depends heavily on your lawn mower’s engine size. Walk-behind or push mowers usually have smaller engines and therefore require less gas.

Larger, more powerful engines—those that come in riding mowers—usually cover more land and can handle thicker and taller grass but will also require more gas.

You might be thinking that a larger engine will cost more either way, but it’s actually more practical in some cases. For example, if you have lawns and yards with thicker grass and larger land to cover, opting for a bigger lawn mower is more cost-effective.

Lawn Mower Maintenance

A well-maintained lawn mower runs better and can handle the usual amount of expected work smoothly. However, a neglected engine and blunt blades can significantly affect gas usage.

Without proper maintenance, a lawn mower will need to work twice as hard to achieve the same results as a maintained one, causing it to burn more gas.

Some of the ways you can maintain your lawn mower are to regularly sharpen the blades and keep the mower clean.

Additionally, if you’re expecting to keep your lawn mower unused for more than 30 days—for example, during the winter months—either add fuel stabilizers or remove all fuel from the tank. 

Leaving gas unused for long periods can cause sputtering and clogging, on top of a significant decrease in performance.

man cleaning grass from lawn mower blades

Terrain Type

Gas consumption can also depend on your lawn’s terrain type and the height and thickness of the grass patches. When the lawn mower is subjected to more rigorous work, such as working through hilly areas, it burns more gasoline to compensate.

In relation to that, thicker and taller grasses would require more work from the lawn mower. It could prolong the mowing because you might have to go over these patches multiple times, thus requiring more gas.

Type of Gas to Use for Lawn Mowers

Different engines may require different gasoline formulations. To check for your lawn mower’s specific requirement, re-visit your device’s manual or contact the manufacturer.

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Regardless of your lawn mower’s model, the general rule is to only use gas with less than 10% ethanol. That’s because ethanol can cause problems for most small engines.

It can cause corrosion of your carburetors and degradation of other components, ultimately reducing its engine life.

Average Lawn Mower Gas Usage Per Hour

With all of these factors taken into account, the usual gas usage per hour of a well-maintained lawn mower with a small engine is 0.2 gallons. For bigger engines, this could go up to half a gallon per hour of mowing.

This is assuming that the blades are sharp and the engines have no issues.

So, how do we calculate how much you’ll need in a single mowing session? All you have to do is to multiply this fuel consumption rate by how long it takes to mow your lawn.

For example, if it usually takes you 3 hours to mow your lawn using a riding mower with a relatively big engine, you’d need 1.5 gallons in total. Assuming you’d do the mowing every two weeks, you’d need 3 gallons per month.

The maximum amount of gas a lawn mower’s gas tank can hold also depends on the engine size and lawn mower type and model. Again, the best way to find out these specifics is to revisit your device’s instruction manual or contact the manufacturer.

On average, a lawn mower will use 0.2 gallons of gas per hour.

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Average Fuel Costs for Lawn Mowers

Gas prices fluctuate every now and then depending on where you live, but we can safely assume that it’ll lie somewhere between $3 to $4 per gallon. For the purpose of calculating how much you’ll need for a month of mowing, let’s assume that a gallon of gas is $3.50.

So, take your lawn mower’s fuel consumption rate, multiply that by the number of hours it takes to finish mowing your lawn, and then multiply that by $3.50 to get the total cost of one mowing session.

Let’s use a push mower with a small engine as an example this time. With a fuel consumption rate of 0.2 gallons per hour, a three-hour mowing session would need 0.6 gallons of gas.

When we multiply that by $3.50, one mowing session using this small engine mower would cost a bit over $2.

Final Thoughts

So, how much gas does a lawn mower use? This depends heavily on the type of lawn mower you have, but most will use half a gallon to two gallons per hour of mowing.

Large engines can use up to 4 gallons per hour, and they also have bigger tanks to hold more gasoline.

It’s important to know how much gas you use every mowing session so you can estimate how much you want to put in the tank and nothing goes to waste. Additionally, knowing your lawn mower’s gas usage can help you track fuel costs.

Remember to maintain your lawn mower and keep the blades sharp to avoid having to use more gas than it needs to as well.

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