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Can I Use E15 Fuel In My Lawnmower?

by Bill
(Iowa)

Question:


Now that the EPA has approved the use of E15 fuel (15% ethanol) for use in cars 2001 and newer. I want to know if E15 is safe to use in my lawnmower.

ANSWER:

No - E15 is only approved for 2001 and newer vehicles. It is not approved for use in motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles or non-road engines. E15 will destroy your small engine. I emailed Toro, Husqvarna and Stihl for their thoughts. Stihl replied within minutes:

"STIHL only authorizes the use of fuel with up to a 10% blend of ethanol. The use of any higher will cause catastrophic damage to the engine."

I expect the same response from Toro and Husqvarna.

Apparently, adding alcohol to gasoline makes fuel more corrosive - it's my understanding that it might destroy rubber gaskets and seals.

Finally, pay attention to the signs at the pumps when fueling older cars, or other gasoline-powered machines so that you don't accidentally fill them with E15 fuel.

I only use ethanol free gas in my lawn care equipment. Even a 10% blend of ethanol can wreck an engine. Protect your engines by treating ethanol-blended gasoline with a fuel stabilizer additive. Sta-bil is my recommendation. You can purchase a whole case of Sta Bil Ethanol Treatment with Performance Improver - 10 oz., 12 Bottles from Amazon.com or from your local hardware store.

Stihl sells a canned gas/oil mix that is ethanol-free. However, Stihl's Motomix is expensive - $7.99 per quart - but that's cheaper than a carburetor rebuild...

Motomix is only available through Stihl dealers.

Update 1/26/11: Toro just replied, "We do not recommend using fuel with more than a 10% ethanol concentration."

The Mankato Free Press pubished an article on 1/24 stating: "Ethanol-blended fuel, say small engine pros, begins to break down quickly in the tank. While that doesn’t cause problems in cars and trucks, it wreaks havoc on carburetors of small engines. Consumer Reports said the unstabilized gas left sitting in engines causes them to gum up with “varnish,” as well as causing metal parts to crust up, plastic parts to stiffen and crack, and everything rubber to deteriorate."

Video: Ethanol and Your Outdoor Power Equipment. How to Prevent Issues



Comments for Can I Use E15 Fuel In My Lawnmower?

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Jan 28, 2011
Read The Labels On The Gas Pumps
by: Paul

I agree. It's going to be important to carefully read the signs at the pumps so you don't fill your lawn mower can with E15.

Feb 11, 2011
Use a Fuel Stabilizer
by: Mark

The ethanol fuel mixture attracts moisture into the gasoline. If you buy gas and let it sit around it will attract water. Don't buy gas and let it sit around for more than a couple of weeks.

My mechanic also recommends using a fuel stabilizer.

Jun 15, 2011
Stihl Recall
by: Anonymous

Stihl just recalled all of there power tools with toolless fuel caps. The ethanol and other additives in gas was distorting parts of the plastic and rubber caps - making them difficult to install properly.

Jun 15, 2011
White House Clears New Label for E15
by: Anonymous

(Reuters) - The White House has signed off on a new gasoline pump label that would warn consumers when they are about to fill their vehicles with a fuel blended with a higher rate of ethanol.

Aug 02, 2011
Pa. Lawmakers Consider Repeal Of Ethanol Requirement In Gasoline
by: Dan

Pennsylvania lawmakers are taking action to repeal ethanol requirements in gas.

http://www.wfmz.com/news/28709303/detail.html

Richard Morgan, owner, Hanover Garden Center speaks the truth.

"There are three options to make sure you have a lawnmower that works: A $7 additive, a $60 repair, or a brand new mower."

"It's all politics why we have ethanol in the fuel today." Yep...and that is why we will continue to have ethanol in our fuel.




Aug 22, 2011
It is baloney
by: Chemist

For the small engine manufacturers, show me the data whereby E15 and even E10 is so corrosive on small engines. They will resist this because it because at worst, it will require them to modify seals slightly in their engines.

I have used E10 in all my motors including lawn mowers, gas timer, snow blowers and my boat motors for the past 19 years.

What is especially baloney is that E10 is harmful and one should only use gas that has no alcohol additive. There isn't sufficient alcohol in the E10 or even the E15 to make the solvent properties including solubility significantly different unless you go back to very old rubber seals, etc.

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