Sometimes I get busy and don’t catch problems until they cost me money. Recently, I’ve been noticing problems with some of my power equipment. I was immediately suspicious because all of my small engine equipment is Stihl (and not Stihl purchased at a big box store, Stihl purchased from a commercial Stihl dealer).
All of my equipment went from starting on the second or third pull to starting after a lot of work, if at all. My string trimmer was the worst, so I took it in and after two trips to the shop, replaced the carburetor. After that, the problem was solved. The culprit…ethanol blended fuel.
As it turns out, ethanol blended fuel is devastating for power equipment. This is especially true for two-cycle engines. If you use ethanol blended fuel, you can expect to keep replacing your carburetor on a regular basis (which isn’t cheap). Consumer Reports started documenting the issue about three years ago. You can find their first article on the issue here. Now, every major small engine producer has some sort of warning on their products or website. This is great for consumers purchasing new equipment but not so great for those of us with older gear, as we have missed out on the warnings.
Fortunately, their is an easy (although somewhat inconvenient) solution. You have to find gas stations that still sell pure gasoline, without any ethanol. They are getting pretty scarce, but you can find them by visiting this website. It may mean some extra driving, but at least your power equipment will still work.
Why is this even an issue? Well…I don’t want to get into another political discussion, so we’ll leave it at just another example of your government at work. You can find the complete history of the issue here. Pay particular attention to 2003 to 2009…yep, this issue spans several presidential administrations, making it a “big government” problem.