Riding Mowers Sputter With US Economy

Housing downturn, gas prices bode ill for icon
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2008 7:06 PM CDT
A father and son fill their riding mowers with gas for use in their lawn-mowing business, May 22, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – Once a symbol of American prosperity, the riding lawnmower is running out of gas, the Washington Post reports. The whole business “is deeply troubled by the decline in housing starts,” said one industry group spokesman. Rising oil prices have also pummeled demand. But what’s really turning lawnmower sales south is general economic dread, said one seller.

Not everyone is complaining, though: One farm equipment seller in Warrenton, Va. has long grimaced at the trend from down-home hay balers and corn-tilling machines to fancy mowers. "There were a lot of people using up home equity to buy Lexuses and $8,000 lawn mowers," he griped.