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Listen to an Important message about Ethanol
I will give you some data and details, but these messages helps with believing that others give warning!

Outdoor Power Equipment Industry Similar Caution about Ethanol

Gas for Small Engines - Look before you pump!

Lets talk, let's learn. Lets get some real data on the subject of blended fuels. What is stated as 10% ethanol ( maximum ) has been reported by several as over 15% and poorly regulated. Damage has been proven in Outdoor Power Equipment at even 10%, and 99.9% of even new outdoor power equipment will have less maintenance and last longer on non-ethanol fuel. Treatment of the correct kind helps, but it is only a measure of help. Lets use some automobile data to dive into a better understanding. If you own a Flex Fuel Vehicle, it is upgraded in several ways, different from company to company as to how, in ways to accommodate the fuels we burn. The Clean Air Act of 1990 has had vast changes to power plants first, then the balance of emission sources. Why do we have ethanol? 1) The government no longer needs to pay a farmer NOT TO Grow corn. 2) Ethanol from various sources is cheaper than gasoline, making any blend cheaper. 3) It can be pushed because in general it does burn cleaner than gasoline, except, the systems prior to blending on cars such as catalytic converters, etc, nearly equates the tail pipe emissions of any blend. So reason 1, the Government wins big, you and farmers loose. Reason 2, the oil companies win, and since tax is per gallon, and you burn more, the Government wins again. Reason 3 is just bogus because in the end ( the tail pipe ), there is no significant benefit.

Now for the cars themselves, the changes, the type fuel and it's impact. First, new sensors, and more sensors, and more codes, and more software, and more processing power, and longer lag to closed loop proper operating conditions occur due to ethanol. These longer times are a big factor. Inspection failures or complexities due to ethanol make life complex and hard to foretell success. When you fill your tank, depending on how old your vehicle, it goes through it's vintage routine to settle into a new fuel to be burned properly. Older vehicles get fooled and don't have the proper "stuff" to foretell a new set of operating conditions. Newer vehicles, hopefully guess based on additional data, then still must learn over time how to best operate. The basis of this complexity has most of it's roots in air to fuel ratios of the fuel being burned. Good gasoline ( not stale  as is often found in Outdoor Power Equipment ) without Ethanol in it is 14.7 to 1. E10 fuel, Gasoline with 10% Ethanol, is 14.0 to 1 and E85 is 9.85 to 1. So as an example, burning E85 in a flex fuel vehicle made to burn it will consume 37% more fuel per mile. AT best, after thousands of on board calculations, with multiple sensors, and much more involved, some success is realized. We may not notice the struggle getting there that the vehicle goes through, non the less, it is complicated, not exact, not immediate, and has little benefit to you. Do you think a lawn mower knows how to do this?

In truth, there are some newer expensive small engines today that can adjust between straight gas and blends to E10 ( closed loop operation ). They actually could be designed to go higher, but the engine internals must also be more expensive to survive. No single small engine company to date has accepted above E10 and all recommend to run regular gasoline. Now lets back up to 1990, the beginning of the clean air act. First small engine makers were told to make fuel systems non-adjustable so there would be less emission by reducing any excess unburned fuel. This was a big mistake, but it continues to this day. First, if running rich, it won't run long before service must be done for it to run at all. Second, a study 20 years ago calculated that if every small engine ever built ran for 100 years it would not equal the balance of world pollution emitted in one month. Third, since these engines don't have closed loop operation to self adjust the fuel ratio, fuels change per season, per source per age, per blend, proper operation requires adjustment. Forth, when running lean, as is the case on ethanol, when set up for regular gas, which early machines and even new machines are designed for with no adjustment, then they run lean, hot, and engine failure is advanced. Lastly, because 2 cycle engines burn oil with the gas, and emission had to comply, the oil ratio's were trimmed to bar minimum, reducing life further. So today, nearly every small engine in service is doomed to less life than pre 1990. This also impacts our planet, along with cost of repairs forcing us into a more disposable market. I have talked to several design technicians trying to cope with fixes and understand failures. IN 1985, they began to upgrade all components to withstand ethanol. By 1987 most had done what they felt would help. By 1995 they still had been making improvements but were finding failures due to ethanol. At that time the battle began not to force any ethanol into the small engine market, to state the findings, and yet today, the research continues as the battle is not won, is in their face, causing failures, causing cost increases, causing customer dissatisfaction, and serving little good as seen by our research. The Government again forced another change with a hidden agenda. We were told we need to have non-permeable tanks and cans and evaporative emission systems because escaping fumes were damaging our air. While the damage may be somewhat real, the extent compared to all other factors is negligible. So why was this done? Ethanol is like a vacuum cleaner for water. It sucks water vapor right out of the air. Any standing vented source of ethanol laden gasoline will have water in it - period. Small engines with small fixed orifices so small gas goes through but not water, will not run when water "plugs" the orifice. Once water combines with Ethanol fuel Phase Separation occurs, fuel becomes damaged.

In the end, a few years ago, I simply recommended the best grade of gas, hoping it would have less Ethanol, and avoid the very high cost of canned non-ethanol fuel. Today, sources of non ethanol fuel are to be found in most areas, and the cost at the pump is very acceptable, and strongly advised. That said, since many of our repair customers will be burning E10, that is what we add when we need to make it run and it needs gas. I could write a book more on this subject, and how service has had to change in accordance with ethanol, but I have to keep some secrets!

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