According to a survey by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), many Americans are confused about the safety and ethanol content of different types of gasolines. The study surveyed 2,000 American adults and found that 61 percent assume that gasoline sold at gas stations is safe for their cars and boats as well as other small-engine products. Additionally, 68 percent use the least-expensive grade of gasoline whenever possible to fill up their cars and just 20 percent notice ethanol content at the fuel pump. Nearly nine out of every ten individuals are not aware that Octane 88 fuel contains more ethanol than Octane 87 fuel, and the majority say the small voluntary warning label from the EPA should be larger, clearer, and mandatory.
“Higher ethanol blends, like E15, E30, and E85,” states OPEI’s president and CEO Kris Kiser, “are illegal to use in most outdoor power equipment and can damage or destroy it, and invalidate manufacture’s warranties in many cases.” Kiser continues to explain that E15 is also being marketed as Octane 88, which three out of five Americans said they would use to fuel their outdoor power equipment if it was cheaper than other unleaded/regular fuels, but after they learn that Octane 88 contains 15 percent ethanol (which is not recommended for use in outdoor power equipment), the number drops down to 20 percent.
“So,” explains Kiser, “we essentially have a muddled marketplace that now has to deal with even more mixed messages.” By clearly spelling out fueling directions in consumer instructions, explains Kiser, manufacturers are doing their part. He continues, “But we can only do so much when we’re talking about having to educate the entire country.”