Watch Your Gas! Main Image

In a world with increasing amounts of ethanol fuel blends, it’s important to be aware of the gas you’re putting into your small engine. No longer can you pull up to a pump care-free and expect that the fuel you bought will keep your small engine running. In recent years, we've seen ethanol fuel blends from 10% up to 85% and a wide range in between, so it’s important to know what your small engine can handle.

Outdoor power equipment and small engines were never built to handle the increasing amounts of ethanol found in fuel today. Increased levels of ethanol in fuel can corrode the metal and rubber used in the parts of your small engine. Because of this, it will cause the engine to break down in much less time as the parts begin to deteriorate faster.

But can’t I save more money by using higher ethanol fuels?

It may be tempting to try and save money on fuel costs by using higher percentage ethanol fuel but in the end you may be costing yourself a lot more. Ethanol fuel doesn’t burn the same as traditional gasoline, it burns hotter and faster. This additional heat puts more stress on the engine and the engine parts and you don’t get the same “bang for your buck” since ethanol fuels provide lower fuel economy. Most outdoor power equipment can’t use higher than 10% ethanol (E10) fuels; they were never designed, built, or warranted to use higher than E10 and doing such could void your manufacturer’s warranty on your equipment.

How can I tell if ethanol alcohol is added to my gasoline?

In today’s fuel market, 90% of fuel sold contains ethanol alcohol. E10 (10% Ethanol) fuel has become the standard fuel at many gas pumps and ethanol-free fuel has become a specialty fuel. Many states now require the labeling of the gas pump when ethanol is present in the fuel mixture, but not all. While some states always require labels, others only require labels when there is 1% or more ethanol present in the fuel and some don’t have any regulations on labeling their fuel pumps at all. To protect your investment in your outdoor power equipment, we recommend testing your fuel if you live in one of these states where labeling of ethanol fuel pumps isn’t regulated. Alternatively, you can also view this resource for locating ethanol free gas in the U.S. and Canada.

Look Before You Pump

States that don’t require labels for ethanol blend fuel pumps

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
Unlabeled Gas Pump

For more information about which states require labels for ethanol fuel mixtures visit visit this page for a state by state guide for ethanol labeling laws.

In the past year, the EPA as began reducing the amount of ethanol required to be mixed with gasoline in acknowledgement that most engines can’t run on fuel with higher than 10% ethanol. Though the trend is beginning to move in the right direction, you still need to watch your gas!