Gardening Articles: Care :: Tools & Equipment

Look Before You Pump

by Susan Littlefield


Spring is arriving (however belatedly in some parts of the country this year!) and it's time for gardeners to get their tools and equipment ready for the season ahead. As you get mowers, trimmers, blowers, chain saws, and similar small engine equipment fueled up, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) reminds you to Look Before You Pump. This caution comes because at some gas stations, consumers can dispense fuel with higher than 10 percent ethanol. If this higher-ethanol fuel is put into any outdoor or garden power equipment or other non-road product, such as boats, snowmobiles, and motorcycles (with the exception of "flex-fuel" engine products), they will be damaged or destroyed. Known by its emblematic prominent, red warning hand symbol indicating 'OK' for 10 percent ethanol and 'No' for mid-level ethanol blends (such as E15, E30, E85), the Look Before You Pump campaign is spreading nationwide as ethanol blended fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol are made available in the marketplace for "flex-fuel" automobiles. You're most likely to find this higher ethanol fuel in the Midwest and South, but blender pumps that dispense various levels of ethanol fuel can be found all over the country.

In thousands of retail store aisles across the country and in spring preview circulars and catalogs, consumers will be reminded that it is harmful and illegal to use higher than 10 percent ethanol gas in any outdoor power equipment or other non-road product with the exception of 'flex-fuel' engine products. OPEI urges consumers to read their equipment operating manuals before filling equipment with gasoline to ensure they use the right fuel for that engine. OPEI is an international trade association representing 100 small engine, utility vehicle, and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers of consumer and commercial outdoor power equipment.

For more information, go to Look Before You Pump

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