What Is E10 Fuel? And How Does It Affect My Lawn Mower?

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In our modern day we are all looking for eco alternatives and different ways we can swap out potentially harmful fuels, products, and chemicals, so that we can all make reasonable and practical swaps to help our planet last a little longer.

E10 fuel is simply another eco friendly swap, but it’s one that if successful and if it does end up being used over the regular E5 fuel it could have a severely positive impact on Co2 levels, greenhouse gasses, and help reduce climate change greatly.

Beyond using it in cars, it is planned to be used in all domestic products that require gas, including your lawn mower. Firstly, what is E10 fuel and how can it save the environment?

Secondly, will it affect my lawn mower, and how? 

We are going to answer all these questions and more in this article. Keep reading to learn more about E10 fuel, its effects on the environment, and how you can make your lawn mowing practices a little more green.

Find this out below, as we tell you all about E10 fuel.

What Is E10 fuel?

So the standard unleaded gas that you may fill your car up with at the gas station is made from up to 5% ethanol.

The vapors that are given off when your unleaded fuel is evaporated through combustion contribute wholly to air pollution.

Pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other nasty free radicals can increase air pollution greatly as well as damage the environment in general.

Most current petrol grades will contain around 5% bioethanol known as E5, which is an attempt to bring down the cost on the environment that most current petrol grades have.

E10, on the other hand, uses around 10% bioethanol, nearly double that previously, meaning that the gas is made from 10% renewable energy.

How Can Ethanol Based Fuel Affect The Environment?

Ethanol, which is the main ingredient in alcohol, burns a lot cleaner than gasoline and has a pretty high octane rating.

An octane rating basically judges the stability of a fuel, its ability to resist combusting too early, essentially how practical and efficient a fuel can be, which ethanol scores pretty high within.

This said, while pretty stable, ethanol burns way cleaner than most other gasses, and is probably our best shot at a renewable fuel for cars.

Some estimate that the greener fuel could reduce Co2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, which would be as if 350,000 cars disappeared from our roads. So it has the potential to be a serious savior in our environmental crisis.

Moreover, ethanol fuel is said to be atmospherically carbon neutral, due to it being made from plant products. This means it can absorb carbon dioxide, more than would be released through fuel combustion.

Put simply the more ethanol we can get into our gasoline the more we can save our environment.

So, Why Isn’t E10 Being Used In Cars More?

In terms of getting more E10 into our cars and saving the environment this way, why isn’t E10 being sold like cupcakes to the motorists and petrol-heads of the world?

Well there is an issue with E10 gas, it’s actually not compatible with all cars. It’s suggested that as many as 600,000 vehicles on the road actually can’t be compatible with the fuel.

As a rule of thumb, those who drive cars registered prior to 2002 are advised not use the fuel due to potentially dangerous difficulties.

This is mainly due to bioethanol fuel having a corrosive element.While many of the cars will run totally fine on the gas, it has a hygroscopic element that absorbs water from the atmosphere, leading to condensation in your fuel tank, a big no no.

But it can also damage your car’s interior furniture over time too. Yet, this is only true for a certain number of car models, particularly older models.

Those with classic cars, albeit potentially the least used cars on the road, should take extra precaution as this corrosive side will certainly corrode these older cars’ interior parts.

Moreover, those who drive cars filled with E10 may find that they get fewer miles to the gallon as the fuel is less efficient as a result of the bioethanol.

This creates a practical issue for many, especially those who use the roads the most frequently such as truck drivers and taxi drivers, who they want to target the most.

Even without all this extra consideration, the price of gasoline is a huge factor here. Consider that gasoline is at its highest ever price for a long time.

Those who are particularly low income may be forced to use older cars already which aren’t compatible with E10 gas.

Even if your car is compatible and you really need to use your car to get somewhere, for reasons we explained, E10 gas isn’t as efficient in terms of miles per gallon than your generic E5, which adds to the likelihood of people using it.

Put simply, if E10 gas was introduced across the board its positive effects on reducing climate change would be huge as we have described, however, with rising living costs, the amount of obstacles that are in the way of using E10 across the board are just too hard to overcome.

What Is E10 Fuel? And How Does It Affect My Lawn Mower?

Why E10 Gas In Lawn Mowers?

So, as we discussed, E10 has a huge potential to reduce the negative emissions your car produces when filled with regular gas.

But as it reduces fuel economy, and is not compatible with all cars, there are a few too many obstacles in the way for it to actually achieve its potential right now – so how can we use this much greener gas?

Well, one way in which environmentalists have changed their plan is to introduce E10 as the fuel of choice in more domestic products that may require gas.

Some of these products can include, but aren’t limited to, things like lawn mowers, tractors, ATV vehicles, generators, motorbikes, and other tools that use an internal combustion engine.

Focussing on lawn mowers for a second, most lawn mowers will have previously used the generic gas you get from the pump, but by using E10 fuel we can start to bring down the general effect of gasoline on the environment without the obstacles previously described. 

That said, most lawn mowers are unlikely to need any premium fuel or mixing oil as a car’s much more complex engine may require.

The vast majority of lawn mower engines are four stroke engines that use a gas with an octane rating of 87 or higher. E10 gas has a minimum of 97 octane rating, meaning it is basically totally fine to use in most lawn mower engines. 

The only lawn mowers that may require a premium gas are two stroke engines that are very small and usually quite old.

These engines are quite common in other motorized utility tools such as chainsaws, weed whackers, etc, tools which often require a more unique mix of fuel and oil.

Check your owner’s manual for the recommended gas, or ask a mechanic, before using E10 gas in these smaller two stroke engines. That said, they are fine in lawn mower engines.

That said, in recent years there are many domestic gas-fuelled products, such as lawn mowers, that are created solely to use E10 gas.

People are much happier replacing their lawn mower than they are their car, as it costs a lot less, and law mowers can require replacing with an increase in land or just with older models becoming impractical.

By creating lawn mowers that only use E10 gas, people are forced into using the more green gas. Ideally this is the kind of thing that could eventually happen with cars in the future.

There is potentially still an issue with moisture build up in the engine when using E10 gas. This is more likely to occur in older lawn mowers that aren’t necessarily made to use the gas.

Yet, you can fix this by using a fuel additive that gets rid of any water that is created, making your engine run more efficiently, albeit increasing costs.

Equally, if you are using an older lawn mower that you have filled with E10, the same corroding issue may still be at play and could damage your lawn mower in the long run.

It’s best to ask a mechanic whether you can use E10 fuel  in this older model, before filling it up.

Another potential issue is due to build up of pressure.

Your lawn mower’s engine may not actually be able to handle the pressure with compression, which can lead to leaky gaskets, clogged injectors, and generally increased wear on your motor.

However with both of these points, certain people would argue that regular gasoline already damages your engine in the same way, but with higher veracity.

The highly aromatic additives in general, straight, unleaded gasoline, such as benzene are actually way more corrosive than ethanol would be. So many say the potential damage ethanol fuel can cause is a mute point.

How Can I Use E10 Fuel In My Lawn Mower Safely?

In comparison to a car, utility engine systems, such as a lawn mower engine or ATV engine, often work within dirty and damp environments and are often stored, potentially for longer periods, in other damp and dirty environments such as a barn, locations which likely also have wide temperature swings.

While the danger of E10 isn’t well researched enough, the best way to be safe is to practice due diligence in any case.

When you are done using your equipment for a season, perhaps with winter approaching and the need to cut the grass reducing, make sure to empty your tank completely either by siphoning a full tank, or just letting it run to get rid of a very small amount.

If you store it this way on the off season, there is little chance the E10 fuel can damage your engine as it sits unused. Another option would be to completely fill your tank and ensure the fuel tank is completely air tight.

Funnily, straight up generic gasoline can only absorb 300 parts per million of water before ‘free water’ will form and lead to engine damage.

In fact, E10 fuel can absorb up to 5000 parts per million of water before this damaging free water can form.

This actually allows E10 to pull moisture through and out the system as fuel is used. This means that the likelihood of E10 damaging your system with free water is extremely low, actually lower than it is with generic gasoline.

To be safe, as is exactly the same with generic gasoline, keep field and equipment tanks full when not in use and make sure there is an airtight seal on the gas tank itself.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of debate and confusion around E10 fuel and its comparison to regular gasoline. E10 fuel can potentially reduce the damage that ICE cars cause to the environment by a huge degree. 

There are many misconceptions about the fuel suggesting it can damage cars interior parts can be corrosive and can lead to damaging water separation.

Many will tell you this makes the fuel unsafe to use in lawn mowers and cars in general but many other people will argue that these points are redundant as regular gasoline causes this damage already, and potentially more acutely.

The bottom line is that there are more obvious issues preventing the gas being used in cars.

That the fuel economy of E10 is greatly reduced in comparison to generic fuel, and that E10 is not compatible with a large number of cars that are being used on the road.

As a result many are pushing for E10 to be used in lawn mowers and other small engines particularly in utility tools and vehicles.

Many of these utility vehicles and tools are now being made with only E10 compatibility so that we can reduce the effect of generic gasoline on the environment, without the legitimate obstacles that we face with cars.

Using E10 in your current lawn mower and utility vehicles and tools is totally possible should you do so with diligence and follow the tips we have set out in the article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does E10 Gas Have A Short Shelf Life?

The minimum shield life of E10 gas is six months. With proper storage conditions, that being airtight with no temperature fluctuation, your E10 gas could last even longer than a year.

That said, this is much longer than your regular gasoline, which has a shelf life of three to six months. Diesel, on the other hand, can take up to a year before it begins to degrade.

What Should I Use To Store And Transport My E10 Gas?

Like other gas, simply use your certified red gas can, you can get these online or even at your local hardware store, or even gas station. The plastic used for these cans is made so it doesn’t react with the gas.

Yellow gas gans are for diesel, so don’t use that.

Where Can I Get E10 Gas?

Most gas stations in the US now provide E10 gas at the pump, just check at the pump and it should clearly say the kind of gas, whether it is ethanol free gas or gas that contains ethanol.

In many states the gas they sell at the pump is already E10 gas.

In Minnesota there are laws that now mean nearly all gas in the state is set to contain 10% ethanol, being E10 gas. If you are really stuck on where to buy it, ask your local mechanic where you can find E10 gas.

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