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Ethanol Fuel and Lawn Mowers – Should You be Using Ethanol Gas in a Lawn Mower

If you’re a lawn mower owner, you may be wondering about using ethanol fuel in your mower. Ethanol is a type of fuel that is made from corn and is often blended with gasoline. While it can be a cost-effective option, using ethanol in a lawn mower can be problematic. In this post, we’ll explore the impact of ethanol on lawn mowers and provide you with some essential tips on using ethanol in your lawn mower.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that ethanol can be harmful to lawn mowers, particularly if the ethanol content is more than 10%. Ethanol is a solvent that can break down plastic and rubber parts in your mower, causing damage and leaks. In addition, ethanol can attract moisture, which can lead to corrosion and rust in your mower’s fuel system.

What is ethanol gasoline?

Ethanol gasoline is a type of fuel that is a blend of gasoline and ethanol. Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is produced by fermenting plant material, such as corn or sugarcane. It is commonly added to gasoline in varying amounts, typically between 5% and 10%, to reduce emissions and improve octane ratings.

Ethanol gasoline is often referred to as E10 or E15, depending on the percentage of ethanol it contains. While ethanol gasoline can be a cost-effective and renewable alternative to traditional gasoline, it can also have some drawbacks, such as potentially damaging effects on some engine parts and decreased fuel efficiency.

As a result, the use of ethanol gasoline is a topic of debate in the fuel industry and among consumers.

Is Ethanol-Free Gas Better for Lawn Mowers?

Yes, ethanol-free gas is generally considered better for lawn mowers than gasoline blended with ethanol. Ethanol is a solvent that can break down plastic and rubber parts in a mower’s fuel system, causing damage and leaks.

In addition, ethanol can attract moisture, which can lead to corrosion and rust in the fuel system. Ethanol-free gas, on the other hand, does not have these drawbacks and is considered a safer option for lawn mowers. However, ethanol-free gas may be more expensive and harder to find than gasoline blended with ethanol.

It’s important to note that if you do choose to use gasoline blended with ethanol, it’s best to choose a blend that contains no more than 10% ethanol (E10).

Ethanol gas lawn mower problems:

We show you what happens when you run gasoline with ethanol in your lawn mower.

Problem1:  Debris in Fuel  

Gums rapidly form in the fuel tank and fuel delivery systems as ethanol fuels age.  However, ethanol is also a powerful solvent that will strip away and disperse this build-up back into the fuel as large, performance-robbing particles.  This leads to clogged filters, injectors and carburetors.

We show you the details of what happens when ethanol fuel in your mower stays in your carburetor.

Problem 2:  Excessive Water in the Fuel and Phase Separation

Ethanol attracts moisture from the atmosphere, forming an ethanol/water solution mixed in the gasoline.  E-10 fuel will naturally hold .5% water in suspension, but when water levels exceed this threshold, or when the fuel cools significantly, the water/ethanol mix drops out of suspension. This is phase separation.  [pullquote]Excessive water in the fuel tank causes engines to run rough, stall, and can lead to internal damage to engine components.  [/pullquote]Ethanol provides a significant amount of the fuel’s octane, so when the ethanol/water solution separates and drops to the bottom of the tank, the remaining fuel is left without enough octane to properly operate the engine.  Additionally, the ethanol/water solution can become partially combustible, which can lead to engine damage.

Problem 3:  Ethanol Fuels Break Down Quickly

Over a short period of time ethanol fuel begins to break down.  As ethanol and other components evaporate, the fuel loses octane and becomes “stale”.  This causes hard starts, pinging, and engine knock, which robs your engine of power and can cause damage.

Problem 4:  Ethanol Causes Lost Power, Performance, and Decreased Fuel Economy

Ethanol fuel does not produce as much energy as traditional fuel.  This results in inefficient combustion, decreased performance, reduced throttle response and poor fuel economy.


It would seem that the simplest solution would be to only use non-ethanol fuel (100 percent gasoline) in all of your power equipment.

The challenge is that finding gas stations that carry 100 percent gasoline are getting harder and harder to find.

Will Fuel Stabilizer Help?

There are chemical additive products available that specifically address ethanol problems. One of the products we recommend and use at our shop is Star Tron.  Star Tron’s enzymes break down debris into sub-micron sized particles that can be easily burned during the combustion process, restoring full engine performance.

This enzyme formula also reduces interfacial surface tension between fuel and water.  The molecular cluster size is greatly reduced, allowing more water to be dispersed throughout the fuel.  These sub-micron sized droplets are safely eliminated as the engine operates.  Star Tron treated fuel helps prevent phase separation by allowing more water to be burned off than with untreated fuel, drying out the tank and preventing water buildup.

This product also is a powerful fuel stabilizer which helps prevent fuel breakdown for up to two years.  This results in easier starts and prevents pinging and knocking.  It also improves octane levels of sub-standard, non-spec, or old fuel and in many cases can rejuvenate stale fuel, restoring it to a serviceable condition.

The enzyme formula helps to break apart large clusters of fuel molecules, creating more surface area.

This allows additional oxygen to react during combustion, which results in a more complete burn of the fuel, improved fuel economy, engine power, throttle response and reduced toxic emissions. This also reduces carbon deposits, keeping your engine clean and operating at peak performance.

Here is a website link that reports on all of the gasoline stations in your area that sell 100% gasoline.

What fuel should I use in my lawn mower?

To avoid these issues, it’s generally recommended that you avoid using ethanol fuel in your mower altogether. However, if you do choose to use ethanol, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of damage. Here are some tips:

  1. Choose ethanol-free fuel: Look for fuel that is labeled as ethanol-free or E10 (meaning it contains no more than 10% ethanol).
  2. Use a fuel stabilizer: If you’re using ethanol fuel, add a fuel stabilizer to help reduce the risk of damage to your mower’s fuel system.
  3. Drain the fuel: If you’re storing your mower for an extended period of time, make sure to drain the fuel tank and run the engine until it stops to avoid any potential damage from ethanol.

Can I use ethanol gas in my lawn mower?

In conclusion, while it’s possible to use ethanol fuel in a lawn mower, it’s generally not recommended, especially if the ethanol content is more than 10%. To avoid damage to your mower, look for ethanol-free fuel or take steps to minimize the risk of damage if you do choose to use ethanol. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your mower runs smoothly and lasts for years to come.

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