Ethanol-blended gasoline represents the majority of gasoline sold at the pump in the United States. Relatively harmless to automotive engines, the presence of ethanol in gasoline poses a threat to the long-term operation of small gas engines. Because of the potential harm of ethanol blends to small gas engines, it is critical to use a fuel additive that protects against the corrosive effects of ethanol. 

Ethanol blends are mandated in many parts of the United States and 10% or 15% ethanol blends, known as E10 or E15, are the most common. As the vast majority of gasoline sold at the pump is used for automobiles, the effects of this fuel blend on small gas engines are often overlooked.

How Ethanol Effects Small Gas Engines

Ethanol burns at a higher temperature than gasoline. Heat resistance is always a concern when designing both automotive engines and small gas engines. In general, automotive engines operate at lower RPMs and are more robust to the additional heat from ethanol-blended gasoline. The high RPM operation of small gas engines along with the elevated combustion temperature of ethanol blends increases wear and tear at a higher rate when compared to automobile engines.

Another property of ethanol is its ability to absorb water. When ethanol-blended fuel sits for a long period of time, water can be absorbed by ethanol from the humidity in the air. As the percentage of water in the fuel increases, fuel performance declines and can even result in fuel separation in the gas tank. This occurrence is less common in automobiles as they are often used year-round. During the winter months, outdoor power equipment engines such as lawn mowers and string trimmers tend to sit for a long period of time, increasing the likelihood of this fuel issue. The phase separation of fuel is harmful to small gas engines and maintaining your fuel will prevent damage to your small engine. While fuel additives do not reverse phase separation, they can prevent it.

Engine corrosion is also a serious concern when it comes to using ethanol fuel blends. Many small gas engines utilize aluminum parts which can oxidize in the presence of ethanol. Using a fuel additive to guard against the corrosive properties of ethanol will prolong the life of your small gas engine.

Walbro’s Fuel Additive Solution

Walbro has now released an innovative fuel additive that protects small gas engines from the negative effects of ethanol. The additive guards against harmful engine corrosion while working to remove carbon deposits from the combustion chamber that hinder engine performance. The additive also protects against fuel separation and even releases a pleasant evergreen scent to let you know it’s working.

Powering over 425 million small gas engines around the world, Walbro understands the dangers that ethanol poses to engine parts. To protect vital engine components from the negative effects of ethanol, Walbro has introduced its new and innovative fuel additive. Click here to learn more about Walbro and our industry-leading small gas engine solutions!

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