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In an effort to go green, and to help ween American drivers off of middle east oil, Government regulators have required many areas of the country to supply 10 percent ethanol in fuel for several years now. In the early years, this caused problems in engines because they were not manufactured to withstand this fuel. Gaskets and seals could not hold up to the chemical characteristics of it. The treatment forms acids that corrodes rubber, plastics and some metals. Particularly in older vehicles and in small engines that are typically found on lawn mowers, motor boat engines, chain saws, generators and other home yard maintenance appliances. Manufactures of these engines have adapted their engines over the years to allow them to hold up better. Still, performance and reliability has suffered because of this fuel additive.
More recently, the feds in the EPA decided it was a good idea to increase the percent of Ethanol to gasoline mixture to 15%. Some argue this idea may seem wise to government bureaucrats, however it is not practical in the real world application. The EPA itself acknowledges that the fuel will be harmful to engines. Given this acknowledgement, it perplexes many in the industry that they would proceed with this mandate.
Many industry leaders including organisations such as SEMA and others are sponsoring efforts to halt this harmful requirement. They claim that not only are there economic side effects from this change, but there are negative environmental effects as well. Their hopes are that lawmakers will reconsider this new RFS (“Renewable Fuel Standard”). These critics argue that while these Biofuels may be a good idea in theory the marketplace dictates otherwise. This fuel would ruin millions of automobile and small engines. As it stands right now, the only requirement the EPA has come up with is to mandate labeling at the pumps indicating that this fuel will be harmful to many engines. We will keep you posted.
Everybody has had it happen. You stored a car over a long term period of time, or maybe even a lawn mower or some other piece of gas driven equipment. Then, you go to start it up after this long lay off. Of course, it doesn’t start. Or maybe it starts, but runs poorly. Perhaps the engine knocks or sputters, or even stalls out. At the very least, the engine doesn’t run as efficiently as it should.
This is the most common reason for fuel failure. As gasoline ages, it starts to smell like varnish. It thickens, and it gums up. It clogs modern fuel injector ports that are much smaller than their earlier carburetor counterparts. When gas ages, or when it gets contaminated, such as with water, it doesn’t burn efficiently. Worse case scenario – you can actually harm the engine.
If you suspect the fuel in question is contaminated or old, it is safest just to dispose of it properly. Don’t take the chance of using it and causing more costly problems than just wasting a few gallons of gas. One of the first things to do if you suspect a problem is to check your fuel filter for particles, water or gunk.
You will need to siphon the bad fuel into a container if you need to bring it to a facility that will take it away. There are usually locations in most areas that accept hazardous waste materials. Usually, you can contact your local and state authorities to determine the location. Always dispose of bad gas properly, as it is considered a hazardous material and there are serious penalties these days for disposing of them improperly. Some local and city governments will also hold single day events annually for citizens to come in and dispose of these materials. Make sure to check with your local authorities what is considered to be the maximum amount you can transport as a private citizen. There are limits to the amount of gallons you can carry without a commercial vehicle and or container.
The best practice is to not let fuel go bad in the first place. First, don’t let it sit for too long. And if you must, you’ll need to put some fuel stabilizer in the gas to keep it fresh. With the advent of ethanol, it is also wise to put an ethanol treatment in your fuel as well. Especially when for use on small engines, like on lawn mowers. It would also be a good idea to run the engine once a month to help circulate the additives that may have settled.