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Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Friday, August 7, 2015

OPEI Advisory on Ethanol and Small Engines

Reminder: Look Before You Pump!

It’s more important than ever to pay attention when fueling your lawn mower, chain saw, string trimmer, and any other small engine product or outdoor power equipment (OPE).


More fuel choices at the pump can be confusing. Most fuel sold today at gas stations for automobiles and outdoor power equipment contains up to 10 percent ethanol (E10). However, in the past year, more gas stations are selling ethanol fuel blends greater than 10 percent – such as E15 and E85.

Gas for your car or truck isn’t necessarily good for outdoor power equipment. You cannot go to a gas station and assume that the gas from the pump that works for your car or truck, is safe and legal to use in your lawn mower, string trimmer, chainsaw, snow thrower, or any other small engine product.

Fuels with ethanol blends higher than 10% ethanol (E10) can be harmful to OPE. As a matter of fact, it is illegal to use fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, boats, motorcycles and utility type vehicles should use E10 or less.

Damage and destruction can be caused by higher ethanol levels in OPE. Ethanol contains corrosive alcohol. It can cause fuel to separate and de-stabilize. If your equipment is damaged by fuel with more than 10% ethanol, manufacturers typically will not honor a warranty claim. You may be forced to make expensive repairs or replace your equipment.

Pay attention at the pump when buying fuel. In the past, consumers were physically kept from selecting the wrong fuel. For instance, with diesel you often used a different pump. But blender pumps, which dispense various ethanol fuel blends, are becoming more widely available. Customers should be vigilant and look before they pump. Make sure you use E10 or less fuel in your outdoor power and small engine equipment.

For more information, visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com.


Information provided by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

13 comments:

  1. Been running E10 in my Stihl and haven't had any issues. It runs great actually. It seems somehow smoother. I don't run E15 in it but suspect it would do just fine. Did you know the main issue with ethanol in small engines is that people leave it sitting in the tank for 6+ months? That's not good even with E0. If you trust Stihl's word then you should also listen to their advisory to always run the engine dry when you're done. (It's in the manual.) I love my Stihl. Worth the money. Nothing better!

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  2. Always run super unleaded without that ethanol crap

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  3. Just use non-ethanol fuel. Period

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  4. Don't run anything higher than 10%, EVER! I work on small engines and marine equipment. It's my livelihood. I have seen more damage to equipment due to ethanol useage recently than I have in 20 years of being involved in this industry. I had one customer bring me one machine three times in one season and it was the same issue every time. Stabilizers can only do so much, and I've had fuel turn even after it was stabilized. Your best bet, and the bonus of not having to be concerned over paying a guy like me to service your equipment WHEN it fails? Run ethanol free fuel. I'll tell my customers "pay me now, or pay me later" when their insistence of running street fuel has become greater than the sake of arguing with them. Because they can pay me now for future service, or pay me when the machine quits functioning because of ethanol useage. Either way, I'll get paid because of their refusal to listen. A huge misconception that I've read in these comments is that super unleaded or high test will result in less problems. It's still got ethanol in it. Octane rating has NOTHING to do with alcohol content in the fuel.

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  5. Any problem running Aircraft fuel?

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  6. Where I live it's hard to find ethanol free fuel.

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  7. Always use unoxygenated ( no ethanol) gas for small engines, if you can. You'll have a lot less problem if the piece of equipment sits for a few months.

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  8. Skypilot, there is a site that lists almost all the stations that have ethanol free fuel. When I find the link, I'll post it.

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  9. I have a bg350 stihl blower and I would like to know how to clean the spark arrester

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  10. I have a bg350 stihl blower and I would like to know how to clean the spark arrester

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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