Pay attention to where you purchase gasoline for power lawn equipment

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Using gasoline with ethanol in it will lead to shorter service life for mowers and other power equipment. Here, Bob Courtemanche at CO-OP Power & Equipment works on a zero-turn mower, one of several dozen that need repair each week.
Photo by Jay Langston

The old adage of “they don’t make things like they used to” certainly applies to anything that runs on gasoline. Over the past few years, this writer has had to replace a number of parts on 4-wheelers, chainsaws, string trimmers, and lawn mowers due to the harsh additives found in today’s gasoline.

Anything plastic that comes into contact with gasoline containing alcohol causes the softening and deterioration of the part, which necessitates costly repairs. This can be something as simple to fix as a fuel line, or it can destroy gaskets and diaphragms in carburetors leading to complicated repairs.

Ethanol gasoline, or E10, is a 10 percent additive to fuel to help lower automobile emissions, but small engines lack the sophisticated computer controls to handle the fuel. If dissolved plastic parts weren’t bad enough, ethanol gas can leave deposits and corrosion on metal parts as well. Worst still is when ethanol-laced gas causes these high-RPM motors to ignite the fuel out of sequence and turn pistons into paper weights.

One solution is to use ethanol-free gas packaged by some of the big-box stores, like Home Depot. Get ready to lay down a lot of green for a little bit of fuel. Get ready to pay $19.97 per gallon -- or get a bulk discount for $15.98 per gallon when you buy four. Ouch!

A better alternative is to buy local. We’ve located three gas stations in the Lewisburg area that sell ethanol-free gasoline. Problem solved.

The Fairview Market, located at 616 Cornersville Road, Lewisburg, sells their ethanol-free for $2.59 per gallon.

Breeze In Market at 1395 Hwy 99 in Lewisburg reports that they sell ethanol-free gas for $3.00 per gallon.

One of our readers said that Laws Hill Market, 3386 Nashville Highway, Lewisburg, sells ethanol-free gas, but we were not able to verify by phone.

Another alternative is to use aviation, or jet, fuel. This sells for about $3.84 per gallon, but the folks at Ellington Airport said that the EPA came in and threatened them with fines if they kept selling fuel to anyone that wasn’t putting it into an aircraft. The dirt track racers had to find other sources for local ethanol-free, high octane gas, too.

If you want fewer problems keeping your gasoline-powered yard tools running this summer, find some pure gas at a station near you.