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Beware what gas you put in small engines

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Greg Peck
October 30, 2012

Milwaukee Biz Blog had a recent story noting that the Environmental Protection Agency has approved higher levels of ethanol—E-15, or 15 percent alcohol—in gasoline for use only in autos and trucks that were built in 2001 or more recently.

Briggs & Stratton’s small gas-powered engines, however, are designed to run on up to E-10, or up to 10 percent ethanol. Using gas with higher levels of ethanol, such as E-15, will hurt engine performance and longevity. It also could damage the engine and void the Briggs & Stratton warranty, the company says.

So what should you do? Pay close attention to gas pumps at your local filling stations, Milwaukee Biz Blog suggests. Some may offer both E-10 and E-15 or even have blender pumps that dispense mid-level ethanol fuels for “flex-fuel” autos.

With an estimated 80 million walk-behind and riding mowers nationwide, valued at almost $50 billion, the potential financial impact on consumers is astronomical, Briggs & Stratton warns.

The company is urging the EPA to educate consumers and put in place methods for consumers to prevent misfueling.

What those methods might be, the story didn’t explain.

In the meantime, when you’re filling your little gas can to fuel your mower, snowblower or some other small engine, you’d best pay attention to that label on the gas pump.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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