RECORD high fuel prices have seen motorists shift towards more economical cars, a trend that could eventuate in the power equipment industry, according to Honda Power Equipment manager Bob Donaldson.
Recent research by RMIT University, Melbourne showed that selecting four-stroke power equipment could reduce running costs by more than 50 per cent.
"For the average homeowner who tends to the garden every couple of weeks or so, fuel cost for their lawnmower or brushcutter will not be excessive, however, to pay twice as much in running costs is still a waste of money," Mr Donaldson said.
"What we are seeing though, particularly in the case of professional garden-care contractors and councils, is a higher uptake of four-stroke equipment when it is time to upgrade to new equipment.
"For contractors who use their mowers, brushcutters, hedgecutters and blowers up to six hours per day, five or six days a week, the savings of owning a four-stroke range such as Honda, really makes a difference to the bottom line.
"Compared with operating a two-stroke product, a contractor using a four-stroke will save enough on fuel and oil costs over a two year period, to cover the replacement cost of the product when they upgrade."
Independent RMIT research on lawnmower and brushcutter performance, noise and emission levels delivered extremely favourable results for the four-stroke Honda models tested.
Overseen by Discipline Director of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, Professor Aleksander Subic and colleague Doctor Gary Zimmer, the GCV160 Honda engine as featured in the Buffalo Buck lawnmower was tested against two competing brands, one four-stroke, the other a two-stroke.
"The Honda engine was the most fuel efficient of the three engines," Professor Subic said. "In terms of emissions, once again the Honda four-stroke significantly outperformed the competing two-stroke, and was better than the other four-stroke tested.
"The Honda GCV160 engine offered the best all-round performance in terms of smoothness and stability of operation across a wide range of speeds, fuel economy and emissions," Professor Subic added.
Similar testing was conducted on Honda's easy-starting GX25 Generation II mini four-stroke engine as featured in several of Honda's brushcutter range along with its blower and hedgecutter models.
When compared to two popular brands of two-stroke brushcutter engines, the research revealed the 25cc GX25 fitted to Honda's UMK425 Brushcutter excelled where fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions were concerned.
Mr Donaldson said the independent test results were an affirmation of Honda's user-friendliness, lower emission levels and fuel efficiency.
"Running costs are becoming a more important consideration in the purchasing decision," Mr Donaldson said, “and following our RMIT independent testing, there is no doubt the most efficient engines available in power equipment are four-stroke."