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Just when you think the debate around ethanol and gasoline starts to die down, something happens to bring it to the forefront of our industry. The water cooler (or snake cooler) once again becomes a place where the quality of our fuels become widely discussed.

This week, Rick Barrett with the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee wrote an informative article about the EPA’s new 4-gallon gas rule. It seems that the government is beginning to listen to some of the warnings that we commercial outdoor power equipment dealers and small engine repair shops have been shouting for the last few years. We see everyday the dangers of ethanol in our fuels and have had to educate our customers numerous times about the dangers of water and condensation in small engines.  So the EPA is now putting a rule into effect that would require you to purchase a minimum of 4 gallons of fuel at the pump… This, they think, will keep people from misfueling motorcycles and small engines.

They are a lot more optimistic than we are.

Come on… go to any QT, Racetrac or other gas station around town and observe the landscapers who come in and fill up their gas cans (gas cans, that have also become increasingly more frustrating because of safety requirements and valves that make them almost unusable… but that is another blog article all together) they fill up their cans daily and use them to fill up the tools that they have to use to operate their businesses. Homeowners also, are often not educated about the dangers and do the same thing. Atleast with the commercial guy, he is probably going to burn through that gasoline. He is more likely to take the engine all the way to empty and refill… and does it in a day or so. The homeowner will have that 5 gallon can sitting on the shelf of his workshop or shed and will be unaware that moisture will be invading the gas and making it deadly to the engine he is trying to run.

Now I understand the rule. The real reason for the 4 gallon requirements is to help ensure that E15 gas isn’t used for small engines. Yeah, that’s right. E15 is coming soon to a pump near you, and most pumps now only have one hose and nozzle to dispense the fuel. Even if you select E10 fuel that is being sold out of the same pump that E15 comes from, you could get E15 fuel due to what remains in the hose from a previous purchase. The EPA believes that instituting the 4 gallon minimum, the consumer will at the very least get a higher ratio of E10 to E15, but it could be as much as a quart of the wrong type of fuel purchased.

Do you see where this is going? 

Small engine manufacturers already tell you that running E15 fuel will void warranties.

Stay on top of the discussion around ethanol. We’ll continue to update our blog with this topic. It is so important to create a healthy fuel hygiene going forward.