Outdoor power-equipment owners who maintain their gear aren't happy about ethanol. When ethanol is added to gas, as it is almost everywhere, it can result in the stiffening of rubber and plastic parts and the crusting up of carburetor parts that are supposed to move freely. Fortunately, there are a number of ethanol free products on the market that address this issue.
Fuel that's 10-percent ethanol, E10, is sold in most gas stations. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the sale of E15 (15-percent ethanol) gasoline for newer cars. There are questions about this, like if you inadvertently put E15 in lawn care equipment, there might be no recourse. No conclusive tests have shown it is safe to run small, non-road engines on E15. As a result, makers of outdoor gear and related engines will not honor the warranty of a product that fails due to the use of E15.
There is an ethanol-free fuel, Stihl's Motomix, that's sold by the quart at certain Stihl dealerships. Though $8 a quart the two-cycle gas/oil mix still seems a bargain compared to taking a string trimmer or leaf blower into the shop a few times a year. Motomix is just one of your options, and the others cost less.
• TruFuel, in three varieties, is sold at Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart and other retailers. The two-cycle 50:1 gas/oil mix costs $5.48 a quart at Home Depot and Lowe's, which also sells the 40:1 mixture online.
• At Sears, ethanol-free fuels in four-and two-cycle varieties are sold online and in stores. (Kmart also carries these products, all of which are made by TruSouth, maker of TruFuel.) The "pure" Craftsman gas costs $6.99 a quart, though you can lower that price to $5.81 a quart by buying a six-pack (the brand is Arnold, a division of outdoor-gear manufacturer MTD), sold by Wholesale Tools from the same website. Both the 50:1 two-cycle gas/oil mixture and the 40:1 two-cycle mixture cost $5.49 a quart.
• VP Racing Fuels sells SEF (Small Engine Fuel) in all three varieties through distributors, relatively small retailers, and the company's website. Unlike the TruSouth product, which is 92-octane, SEF is 94. All three varieties are sold by the six-pack for $43.95, which comes out to about $7.33 per quart.
Compared to the cost of repairs, using these products in small power equipment makes good sense. But using them in your lawn mower or snow blower exclusively might cost so much per season that it may be cheaper to hire the job out.
If you don’t want to buy ethanol free gasoline online because of shipping costs, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic where we have it instock.