Ethanol-blended fuels can start phasing. Ethanol in the fuel absorbs water and start to separate from the fuel; the moist ethanol is heavier than gasoline so this mixture drops to the bottom of the tank as the fuel is pushed on top of this new layer. Though the mixture of water and ethanol will allow the engine to run, engine failure or deterioration can occur.
On the same note, ethanol contains oxygen. This oxygen perpetuates the oxidation process; the problem arises because during the oxidation process the fuel reacts negatively with this gas creating a gummy residue / Varnish deposits. These residues can stick to the fuel lines and internal engine components and thus damage carburetors, plug exhaust ports and cause stuck piston rings. Each of these areas of potential damage has far reaching implications on the effectiveness and efficiency of the outdoor power equipment and can easily lead to premature engine failure. At times, these effects can as well be costlier and result to non-warrantable damage of the fuel system.
Ethanol-blended fuels are known to burn hotter than fuel that has not been mixed with alcohol. Bearing in mind that the small-engine equipment is not meant to persevere excessive temperatures, the risk of the machine catching fire from the extremely high temperatures is real.
Ethanol can also contribute to faster corrosion of fuel tanks as well as other components of the fuel system; this is true for small-engine equipment many of which still use aluminum parts. This material corrodes faster resulting to oxides that look like rust.
Another issue is that ethanol can loosen the debris normally found in the corners of the fuel tank; such debris can find their way into the fuel system and cause clogging of the system. Whichever way one looks at it, ethanol has serious effects on outdoor power equipment more so on the small-engine equipment.
However, this does not mean all that owners and users of the type of equipment should be ready to live with the side effects. The fact is that advances in the motoring technology, and more specifically on the fuel technology has come up with specific solutions to address these concerns. There are different brands of 2-stroke oil containing stabilizers to help prevent the formation of gums and varnishes thus prolonging the life of the fuel. Better still, one can opt to use pre-mixed ethanol-free fuel which will ensure your outdoor power equipment runs at peak performance any time you turn it on.