Captain Bernardo And Jay Leno

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Jay Leno backs ecofriendly line of implements

By Jay Fitzgerald
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Massachusetts native Jay Leno has taken a keen interest in lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other motorized lawn gadgets – in addition to his famous collection of classic cars.
The late-night NBC funnyman, who’s soon to become a primetime funnyman, is apparently intrigued with a new ecofriendly line of motorized lawn implements that run on cleaner-burning propane fuel, rather than dirtier gasoline and oil.
The products’ engines, made by Lehr Inc., so captured the attention of Leno, who has collected hundreds of classic autos, that he recently invited Lehr’s founder, Bernardo Herzer, to film a segment for a future show about the Lehr gadgets.
“We’re both motorheads,” said Herzer, who was in Boston last week pitching his propane-powered lawn mowers, grass trimmers and leaf blowers at a Boston Convention and Exhibition Center show for hardware-store owners.

“He (Leno) is very current on technology and knows his stuff,” said Herzer, who recently spent nearly six hours at “Jay Leno’s Garage” in Burbank, Calif., where Leno keeps his huge armada of cars.
The 50-year-old Herzer, a former commercial-ship company owner, said he’s developed technology so that small internal-cumbustion engines can run on propane.
Propane is a cleaner-burning fuel than gasoline and oil, which are both usually mixed together to run motorized lawn equipment, considered a major source of carbon pollution that causes global warming.
Two-year-old Lehr Inc. is already selling its products, usually via co-branding agreements, at Home Depot, Sears, True Value and other stores. “We’ve had explosive growth,” he said.
Seth Kaplan, a senior attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation, said propane is indeed a cleaner fuel than gasoline and diesel. But recent regulations forced lawn-mower and other lawn-tool makers to make cleaner burning gas-powered engines.
As a result, the difference between propane-powered and gas-powered engines isn’t as great as it used to be.
Bob Keough, a spokesman for Gov. Deval Patrick’s office of energy and environmental affairs, said the bottom line is that propane spews “lower toxic emissons.”
Herzer said he’s planning to unveil more propane-powered products that he hopes to showcase on Leno’s show down the road.

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