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E15 Could Be Bad

Tucked neatly away in the recently passed tax bill was a renewal of the $0.45/gallon subsidy for corn ethanol. The subsidy renewal also includes a continuation of the $0.54/gallon tariff on imported ethanol and revives the expired bio-diesel credit of $1/gallon. If E15 replaces E10 and becomes the new standard, some 400 million cars, chain saws, and other small-engine landscaping equipment could be adversely affected. Some parts of these engines actually disintegrate when E15 is burned.


Gas-powered lawn equipment like mowers, blowers and trimmers are very vulnerable to potential damage, according to local businesses that sell and repair yard equipment.

''The 10 percent ethanol is not doing very good, I can only imagine what the 15 percent will do,'' says Chris Hanny, sales manager at Land & Coates. It's a Toro, Stihl and Honda power equipment dealer on Jefferson Avenue in upper Newport News.

Ethanol is an alcohol and is caustic to certain materials, especially rubber and plastic. It gums up everything, and ruins springs, floats, rubber gaskets and fuel lines, according to Hanny. Slowly, but surely, you get unwanted shellac on the inside of your carburetor, too.

''Years ago, you could get 5 gallons of gas for your mower and it would last you for the summer,'' he says.

''Now, gas goes bad, stale with water in it, in 30 to 60 days.''

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December 11, 2019, 1:14 pm PDT

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