News reports like the one from WSB TV's Clark Howard are warning that using ethanol in small engines—such as the one on your lawn mower, chainsaw, blower, or even your small recreational vehicles—could clog up and corrode those engines. The Environmental Protection Agency has OKed fuel with up to 15 percent ethanol, but it's not meant to go into small engines. If your lawn mower is making a sound like "vrum, vrum, vrum," instead of a nice "vroooooooom," then your carburetor is probably gummed up by too much moisture, attracting ethanol in the fuel. And worse yet, using fuel that contains too much ethanol could void the warranty on your equipment.

The big question is: WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Use fuel that is 89 octane or higher (mid-grade or premium fuel).
  • Use an additive that stabilizes your fuel and removes moisture.
  • Only put in enough fuel for the job at hand.
  • Only use modern, self-venting fuel storage containers.
  • Keep those containers capped. Exposure to air allows the ethanol to attract more moisture.
  • Shake your fuel container carefully before each use.
  • Drain fuel completely when storing your equipment.