Does ethanol blended gas damage small engines?

Food for thought…

Depends on when the small engine was built. The newer small engines have fuel systems that can handle a 10% ethanol contant in the gas. But older small engines can suffer from fuel system problems to complete engine failure.

That is one of the reasons why Minnesota made available non-oxygenated (no ethanol) gasoline at some gas stations.

All the gas I purchase for my small engines is non-oxygenated, with a little SeaFoam as a stabilizer so it lasts for both my summer and winter small engines.


Oops, I have an '88 Honda Accord with 226,000 mi. Am I cruising for engine failure with the Ethenol Blend ?

Bassman 65123

No, not at all. Your Honda should be OK on 10% ethanol blend. In some states, the choices that Minnesota provides are not available, anyway. Many states now require some level of ethanol in all gasolines sold.

Ethanol can damage neoprene and silicone type O-rings and seals in the fuel system. Most manufacturers have changed to teflon based seals, gaskets and fuel line stuff, which can handle ethanol.
Ethanol shrinks and hardens up neoprene and silicone over time.
Ethanol does not harm metal, in fact some ethanol in your gas tank will help absorb water and stop it from rusting out.

Ethanol in itself is a corrosive agent to some metals along with some gaskets and seals. Minnesota found that out back 1997 when they mandated E10 be the main motor fuel. Also, it is true that ethanol absorbs moisture. But not only the moisture in the tank, but also any moisture in the air. So if you leave a small engine sit for months with E10 in the tank, the ethanol along with the moisture will phase seperate out of the gas, so you end up with water at the bottom strata, ethanol at the center strata, and gasoline at the top strata. If that’s not a recipe for rust, I don’t know what is?