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Ethanol Industry, Small-Engine Manufacturers Clash over Damage from Fuel
by Ben Wolfgang (Washington Times) Manufacturers of lawn mowers, snowblowers, chainsaws, and other small-engine equipment continue fueling a debate over the supposed dangers of ethanol, but the ethanol industry argues that they are merely looking for a scapegoat to mask operator error.
Gasoline blended with ethanol has become commonplace for American drivers, especially since Congress enacted the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard and began mandating increasing amounts of the fuel at gas pumps across the country. Critics argue that while such blends — including the most common, E10, which combines 10 percent ethanol with regular gasoline — pose no problems for automobiles, they can often wreak havoc on small engines.
Those problems become even worse, they say, with higher ethanol blends such as E15.
“Sometimes a customer will have an issue and it’s not covered under warranty because it’s a fuel storage issue,” said Terry Ditsch, vice president of product service at Echo USA, one of the nation’s leading small-engine products manufacturers.
“You can bring it into a mechanic and he says, ‘Do you use ethanol? There you go, that’s the problem,’ without having ever diagnosed it,” said Donn Larson, the CEO of Larson Sales in Hudson, South Dakota, a wholesale distributor of outdoor power equipment.
“You put fuel in there and ethanol gets blamed. It’s easy,” he added. “And people buy into it in droves. But speak to them, ask them where they got their information and why they think ethanol is a problem, and they typically can’t answer you.” READ MORE