October 5, 2013

Don't Store Gas for Too Long Before You Use It - North Attleboro, MA

Homeowners should not store gas for more than a few weeks before using it in outdoor power equipment if they want to reduce ethanol gas can do on their small engine. Gas stabilizers and additives to treat ethanol can help prolong the life of small engines. Ethanol-free gasoline can be purchased from some dealers.

The 2005 renewable fuel standard – a law that requires gasoline refiners to add ethanol to the fuel mixture sold to consumers, has been a bane of owners of lawn mowers, chain saws, outboard motors and other small engines. It’s almost as if the ethanol, after more than a few weeks begins to turn into corn pudding, a gummy, gelatinous substance that fouls carburetors and, if the machines can be made to run at all, shortens engine life.

The oil industry wants the ethanol requirement reduced or repealed altogether. The corn lobby wants to preserve the mandate, along with the hefty subsidies paid to producers of renewable fuels.

We say: Leave it, change it or scrap it, but just give consumers a break and make it possible to buy gasoline that doesn’t turn to goo.

Virtually all gasoline contains up to 10% ethanol, a limit that the EPA recently raised to 15% if the fuel is burned in modern vehicles. Because E15 gasoline damages or destroys small engines, its use in them is banned. It’s virtually impossible to buy bulk gasoline without ethanol, so mechanics and trade organizations recommend adding gas stabilizers and ethanol treatment additives to gas.

They also suggest storing for no more than a few weeks any gasoline slated for small-engine use. The unused fuel should then be dumped into the tank of a vehicle, where it will be diluted and burned in a bigger engine. How much gasoline winds up on the ground is anyone’s guess. How much the ethanol mandate costs consumers in expensive fuel system replacements and shortened equipment life is something Congress should find out before voting. Equipment owners who want to avoid malfunctions can purchase ethanol-free gasoline sold by power equipment retailers.

For information, outdoor power equipment repair, ethaol-free gasoline, or for fuel stabilizers, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic.