Watch Out For E15 Fuel That’s Bad For Your Snowblower And Lawn Mower

In many parts of the country, it’s time to put your lawn mower away for the winter if you haven’t already. You should have run the equipment until the gas tank is empty before putting the items away for the year. What you may not know is that the gas you use all season long can damage your gardening gear if you aren’t careful, thanks to ethanol.

Ethanol is the plant-derived alcohol that makes up around 10% of the gasoline that we buy at the pump. Cars made in the last few decades can handle that 10% formulation without any trouble, and fuel that’s 15% ethanol will be hitting the streets (hitting the tanks?) soon. While cars manufactured since 2001 will have no problem with the 15% formulation, the smaller gas-powered engines in your lawn tools aren’t so lucky. Higher-ethanol fuel isn’t approved for use in them.


Yes, where you find the E15 fuel, there are warning labels on gas pumps, but they’re probably smaller than the signs advertising the sandwiches and donuts inside the store. They’re easy to miss. If you’ve been filling your home gas tank during regular trips to fuel your car, you may have a bad time.

E10 fuel is okay but not great to use in small engines, but you should add stabilizers just in case. for the discerning lawn ranger, fuel that’s totally ethanol-free is available at the same home store where you probably bought your lawnmower: Home Depot, Sears, Lowe’s, and so on. You can buy a few quarts for the first and last fueling of the year if you find it too pricey.

Don’t put the wrong gas in your mower or blower [Consumer Reports]

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  1. gearkitty says:

    This is also a concern for motorcycle riders as well. Ethanol blends do not play nicely with older (especially carbureted) engines. Ideally we would run our bikes soley on non ethanol gas, but it’s simply not practical to do so.

  2. Raekwon says:

    I just took a look at alternatives and it looks like all the major brands sell ethanol free gas for ~$8 a quart. That’s going to really get expensive quick.

  3. RoboKaren says:

    Ethanol eats away at the rubber used in older fuel lines. You can have your mechanic swap your fuel lines for steel braided silicon or something similarly impervious to ethanol. But you still might have it eat away carburetor o-rings and insides of plastic fuel tanks.

  4. muaddib78 says:

    most marinas also offer non ethanol gas at a slight increase in price over regular gas.

  5. Lenne says:

    I drive a fairly old car (1989 Z31) and with me being as absent minded as I know I am, I will inadvertently put some of this stuff in my car and who knows what’s going to happen. I hope this new fuel will be clearly labeled. Maybe they can choose a special colour handle like they do with diesel (which I believe the handle is green).

  6. DrRon says:

    Was shocked when I saw that label, contains 10 % ethanol, on the premium pump that I fill my 2000 SS with. Did a search alcohol free gasoline and found that a Shell station near me was listed. Running great again, except the other one was on the way home from work.

  7. evogel says:

    I have a 1999 car. How dare they do this. Leave the fuel alone. For my 1964 outboard motor I use once a year, I buy the gas at the marina. Expensive 3 gallons of gas, but I only get 3 as it is all I need. Good side no taxs. It has stabilzers in it. Not worth it for me to buy marine grade oil and mix it my self for 3 gallowns a year.

  8. EducationalGeek says:

    Ethanol is just plain bad for vehicles in almost every way. The government is a bunch of morons for forcing this down people’s throats. They’ve jumped into farming and now practically every farmer for miles around me grows nothing but corn when they used to actually grow edible and nutritional food. Corn is a plant that shouldn’t thrive well in my area either but the big conglomerates have genetically engineered it to adapt well to a solid black clay soil.

    It is a lackluster band-aid solution that isn’t working. BTW..most premium gas in my area doesn’t have ethanol. Just yeah….you pay out the butt for it.