Be Aware of E15 Fuels!

There could be a new pain at pump coming to you and it goes beyond the cost of fuel to the potential harm if not death of your chain saw engines (and other outdoor power products).

We say “could be” because there’s a legal challenge to the “new” E15 fuel, which may at least stall the introduction of E15 to the market place, should be decided by the courts sometime in June.

While many of you may be well aware of the controversy we’d rather you heard this twice than discover the issue after you’ve damaged of permanently destroyed equipment you’re depending on to earn a living.

At issue is the percentage of ethanol in your fuel. For the past many years many fuels have had 10% (E10) ethanol added to the fuel mix, which most of today’s equipment is designed to run. What’s changing is the mix from the current 10% to the “new” 15% (E15). The good news is that’s not readily available at this point. The bad news is that may be changing this summer.

According to a “Yard and Garden” article, “E15 has essentially been approved for a subset of the auto fleet; model year 2001 and newer,” however “E15 is not approved for any non-road use,” and that includes boats, ATVs, lawn and garden equipment (which includes professional chain saws). Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) explained, “The EPA knows this because when they tested it, it failed,” then elaborated adding, “And by failed I mean (E15) destroyed the product.”

The issues in play here are the result of the E15’s effect on your chain saw motor running more lean, hotter, and a host of other issues including that may include softening, cracking, swelling, drying of rubber and plastic components, and potential corrosion of the metal fuel system components.

Certainly the formulations could eventually change, but presently using E15 fuel in your chain saw would be a very bad, and likely fatal, idea for your chain saw’s life.

If you have access to the internet, check with your chain saw manufacturer or suppliers for information on oxygenated fuels, fuel mixing, and the E15 fuels for more information, or talk with your local chain saw dealer.

Know your fuel. The engine you’re saving is your own. 

by / Mike Crouse