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Got Gas? The Ethanol Battle Continues

Picture of corrosion caused by gas blended with ethanol. Photo, Jim’s Small Engine Repair

Have you started up your snow blower yet this season?

In the summer it’s your lawnmower, leaf blower, or chainsaw, but all of these tools are powered by small engines that run on gas.

Chances are, that gas has caused you some trouble and additional expense.  Jim Williamson of Jim’s Small Engines in Orrington sees it all the time.

Williamson says gas in Maine contains 10 percent ethanol which sucks up moisture making it extremely corrosive.

“This stuff is nasty. It’s very damaging to carburetors and fuel systems; anything rubber its eating it and dissolving it,” states Williamson.

Williamson says consumers have to repair their equipment or replace it entirely because of the damage caused.

Williamson relayed a story he heard from one of his customers who’s a tanker driver hauling shipments received at the Searsport docks.

“He says they bulk of ethanol comes from Brazil. He said they had a tanker come in that was a brand new tanker and it ate the lining out of the ship and they had to refuse the whole load,” recalls Williamson.

Williamson recommends you do not store the gas for long periods of time and that you use an additive to combat the effects of the ethanol.

It’s not just a problem in Maine either, and the push is on to increase the ethanol blend.

As the battle over ethanol continues, an investigative report done by the Associated Press that suggests ethanol hasn’t lived up to the government’s clean-energy promises, has come under intense fire from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the ethanol industry.


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