Small Engines How to Properly Use Ethanol Fuel in Power Equipment

Published on March 24th, 2015 | by Turner Anderson


How to Properly Use Ethanol Fuel in Power Equipment

Ethanol Fuel (E10) is everywhere! Now almost all gasoline contains this blend of 90% gas and 10% ethanol.

The positive side of Ethanol fuel is that it reduces exhaust emissions and helps reduce the dependence on foreign oil.

For automobiles like cars, E10 won’t do much harm, except reduce your gas mileage by a few mpgs (as some claim).

But for Outdoor Power Equipment, ethanol fuel can be a damaging and costly issue, if NOT Used Properly!

What are the Effects of Ethanol?

  • Over time, Ethanol will start to absorb water, which is never good to have in your fuel tank. This will lead to poor engine performance.
  • Ethanol is also a destructive solvent. It will slowly dissolve the parts of your fuel system, creating gummy/varnish deposits that clog the carburetor and internal engine parts.

Ethanol (E10) PROPER USE Guidelines:

  1. Always add a Fuel Stabilizer as soon as you get fresh gas.
  2. Shake the fuel mixture in your gas can to stir up any small amounts of water that may have collected at the bottom.
  3. Store fuel in an air tight gas container (no vent caps).
  4. Don’t store fuel/oil mixtures with a stabilizer longer than 90 days, just to play it safe.
  5. Keep gas caps secured on tanks at all times between fill ups.
  6. Long-Term Storage: Completely drain the fuel tank and run the unit dry. Also drain the carburetor bowl where some left over gas will collect.

*The Ethanol Golden Rule:

Only buy a 30 Day Supply. Keep your Fuel Fresh! And never run stale gas in your equipment.

Jack’s Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.

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About the Author

is the Internet Marketing Manager at Jack's and the editor of Jack's DIY Center. You'll also find him creating How-To articles, videos, newsletters, and much more.

5 Responses to How to Properly Use Ethanol Fuel in Power Equipment

  1. k says:

    If you are rabid anti alcohol, mix the gas with 20% water, shake well, let sit. The water will separate out with the alcohol. Pour gas through a column of ‘fresh step’ cat litter or other desiccant to remove the last of the water from the gas. As a side benefit, you have also 60 proof alcohol.

  2. Dale Eatinger says:

    That reply was beautiful! What a wit.

  3. Robert Hayner says:

    Is there any additive that will clean out ethanol varnish buildup already in a small engine fuel system ?Or only prior treatments like a stabilizer or ethanol free fuel before the varnish happens ?
    Thanks for your reply .
    Bob Hayner

  4. Glenn South says:

    The best thing to do with alcohol fuel is leave it at the gas station. There are places where you can buy pure gas (no alcohol). Mere’s a link to a map:
    Switched to alcohol free gasoline for all my small engines a few years ago. Smartest thing I’ve ever done. Carb problems all went away.

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