Mechanics warn against using gas with ethanol for small engines

By WEEK Producer

June 10, 2013 Updated Jun 10, 2013 at 7:08 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- With high gas prices, many of us tend to look for the cheapest fuel to put in our lawn mowers and other gas powered tools.

The lowest price gas tends to come mixed with ethanol and ethanol blends can do lasting damage to your small engines.

You see it at most gas pumps these days, up to ten percent ethanol mixed with your gasoline and while it may be okay for your car, it can ruin your lawn mower and other small engines.

"Fuel lines are not made to take alcohol inside of them,” said Jake Knapp from Wielands Lawn Mowers. “The ethanol in the gas eats away at the fuel lines after a few years. You'll notice the fuel lines falling apart and crumbling to pieces."

Ethanol trade groups say mixing alcohol with gasoline does not cause damage to small engines but small engine mechanics we talked to say they have seen the damage first hand.

Ethanol causes corrosion in small engines and that can lead to clogged carburetors.

"It takes very little corrosion to plug up those holes and make the machine not run at all."

However, it's not easy to find gas without ethanol in Peoria. In fact, only three stations in the area offer it.

Brian Loyd knows it is better to fill his mower with 100 percent pure gasoline.

"I try to,” he said. “What happens is you're filling up the vehicle and it's just as easy to fill up the can with whatever you're pumping."

Knapp says if you choose to keep putting ethanol in your small engines, you might be paying him a visit.

“Ethanol makes me a lot of money."

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