Tips from Toby: Watch what fuel you put into your lawn equipment

KANSA CITY, Mo. - Things are changing at our gas pumps and it’s going to affect your lawn equipment greatly. Toby Tobin shows you what you need to know.

The new gas blends that are going to be coming into our area that contain 15 percent ethanol are not to be used in our lawn and garden equipment. Now you need to be very careful in the gasoline that you purchase.

You’ll be seeing warnings like this popping on gas pumps all over town in the coming weeks. The new higher ethanol gasoline blends that are coming to the market attract moisture and can quickly gum up your engine. The 15 percent ethanol fuel can essentially heat up and melt small power engines for mowers, string trimmers, snow blowers and much more. Plus, manufacturers are not recommending we use these fuels in any car older than 2001.

"What happens after about a three-week time period is that the fuel begins to what they call phase separate," Tom Diltz, of Smitty's Lawn & Garden Equipment, said. "It separates from the ethanol and the gas and water that is contained in the ethanol. We all know these things don’t run on water and the layering effect is causing the problems as the fuel sits. It starts to layer and obviously it won’t run through those layers."

Diltz said with the quick breakdowns of these fuels some of the best advice is to use these new ethanol additives which can increase the shelf life of that gasoline you stow in the garage or your mower up to two years. A little bottle will make over 48 gallons of your gasoline safe to store and use.

If you intend on leaving your fuel sitting - and most of us do for outdoor power equipment - for longer than three weeks to a month, you need to be using an ethanol treatment in your fuel to keep that phase separation from occurring.

For those who don’t want to have to worry about going to the pump and dragging that gasoline back and forth, or how long it will last, there are new pre-formulated fuels for both two stroke and four stroke engines. This stuff is closer to race car fuel, is very pure and will last a very long time. For engines like your snow blower or items you don’t use very often like a chain saw, this stuff is handy to keep around so you don’t have to worry about running to the pump during a snow storm.

Tobin said he no longer uses the larger gas cans and said you shouldn’t either. Buy a smaller gas can so you are buying less gas and using it quicker.

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