Pay Attention at the Gas Pump
E15 fuel can kill your engine and void it’s warranty. Leading engine manufacturers are warning users of all gasoline-powered lawnmowers and other outdoor power equipment to be alert when fueling their equipment. Gasoline blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol—such as E15 and E85—should not be used. These new blends, already available in several U.S. states, can cause permanent and irreversible damage that is not covered under warranty.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently gave approval for gas stations to start selling 15-percent ethanol-blended fuel. The EPA contends E15 is compatible with cars newer than the 2001 model year, but some automobile manufacturers state that E15 fails to comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner’s manuals.
Furthermore, it’s extremely important to note that E15 is not approved for non-road engines at all. This includes engines found in edgers, lawnmowers, riding mowers, power washers, portable generators, weed trimmers, leaf blowers and other commonly used outdoor power equipment.
Ethanol is a type of alcohol and has inherent properties that cause problems with engines. The problems worsen as the alcohol content increases. The increased alcohol in E15 fuel changes the air-fuel ratio in carbureted engines. This results in higher operating temperatures that will lower engine life, cause issues with valve sealing, piston scoring and head gasket leaking.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) has released the following tips to help consumers properly fuel their mowers and other equipment:
- Check your owner’s manual, which will clearly explain what fuels can be used to ensure a properly functioning product. Don’t put any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol (E10) into small engine products, unless otherwise stated.
- Check the gas pump to be sure that it is dispensing E10. Some pumps at local gas stations may offer both E10 and E15, or have blender pumps that dispense mid-level ethanol fuels for “flex-fuel” automobiles.
- Don’t be tempted by price. Higher ethanol fuel (E15) may be less expensive than regular (E10) fuel, but putting E15 into an E10-approved product could cause your equipment to fail and void its warranty.
For more in-depth information on the risks of E15, check out the article E15’s Risks Are Real at forconstructionpros.com, in which Brad Murphy of Subaru Industrial Power Products notes: “This fuel is universally opposed by our entire industry because of the problems it causes.”