The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, recently issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) will expand to year-round.
“We will continue to advise consumers and professional users of outdoor power equipment to ‘Protect Your Power’ as E15 gasoline sales expand to year-round across the country,” said Kris Kiser, OPEI president and CEO. “With E15 sales expanding to year-round now in time for the summer travel and yard care season, it’s more important than ever for consumers to educate themselves about fuel choices today and to pay attention to what fuels you put in your lawn mower, generator, chainsaw, trimmer, UTV or other small engine product.”
Most outdoor power equipment is not designed, built or warranted to run on fuel containing 15 percent ethanol.
“Fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage or destroy equipment,” said Kiser. Consumers are advised to check their owners’ manuals for guidance on correctly fueling their outdoor power equipment products, but “should be generally aware that only fuels containing 10 percent or less ethanol should be used,” he said.
He added, “As the fuels marketplace is evolving, you can no longer count on being able to put the same fuel in your mower that you also use in your car or truck. You must pay attention at the pump so you can protect your power equipment. You must put the right fuel in the right engine product. And for outdoor power equipment, that means E10 or less.”
Along with boat, snowmobile, motorcycle, automobile and other manufacturers, OPEI has long advised and educated consumers about the changing fuels marketplace, with mid-level ethanol blends being introduced for a subset of the automobile fleet. Mid-level ethanol fuels are not for use in non-road products, such as mowers, chainsaws, generators, UTVs, ATVs, boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles and other outdoor power equipment.
“It is unfortunate our government is not willing to invest in stronger education for consumers about fueling choices. The small warning stickers placed on fuel pumps are not enough to prevent mis-fueling and do little to educate consumers. Consumers need to be vigilant year round when it comes to fueling their outdoor power equipment and remember that E10 or less is always best,” said Kiser.
Earlier this year, the organization issued the results of a study conducted online with The Harris Poll that showed Americans are confused when it comes to fueling choices. OPEI’s research found that only 1 in 5 Americans (20%) say they notice ethanol content at a fuel pump, while more than 4 times as many (86%) notice price (similar to last year, 20% and 85%, respectively).
Among those who own outdoor power equipment, less than half (42%) of respondents pay attention to the type of fuel they use. More than 1 in 10 outdoor power equipment owners are fueling incorrectly.
Twelve percent admit to using fuel with higher than recommended ethanol (E15/E30/E50/E85) for their outdoor power equipment (up from 7% in 2015).
Fifty-eight percent don’t pay attention to or are not at all sure about what fuel they use.