This fall, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) in conventional vehicles manufactured in 2007 or later. As a result, many questions have been raised as to the effect the increased level of ethanol will have on vehicles on other small engine equipment. (It should be noted that at this time, E15 has not been approved for use by the EPA in small engines or for marine equipment.)
The “Fuel Answerman” a.k.a. Mike Profetto who is the Vice President of Product Engineering at Gold Eagle Co has cautioned motorists that ethanol is corrosive to rubber and plastic parts and can lead to issues in both vehicles as well as small engines including lawnmowers. He also notes that ethanol is a solvent and can loosen debris and deposits that have built up in a fuel tank over time, resulting in clogged fuel systems. This can lead to hard starting, rough running and even stalling. Yet in the opinion of the author, it is also these properties of ethanol that can keep your engine running, meaner, cleaner and longer.
The “Fuel Answerman” is offering up his services and is ready to answer technical fuel-related questions from diesel to ethanol and a current hot button issue: the voluntary transition to E15. In addition, his company is preparing to launch a new product after the first of the year to help counter the effect of ethanol fuels. It’s called STA-BIL Ethanol Performance Improver and Profetto says the product will aid in engine maintenance in several ways including the prevention of corrosion caused by ethanol blended fuels; help remove water from fuel; clean fuel injectors, carburetors and intake valves; and keep engines running smoothly for optimal performance.