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Clark Howard: Ethanol

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Updated: 5/06/2013 9:43 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you go to most gas pumps you'll see this next to it. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a gas station that doesn't sell gasoline containing ethanol. 

But that fuel could be harmful to small engines, like the one in your lawnmower. "The problem is a lot of the rubber components can't stand up to ethanol." Joseph Milligan is a service manager at Howard Brothers True Value. He says the longer you let ethanol sit, the higher likelihood it could cause damage. "They do not want to let that fuel sit 30 to 60 days."

That's because after a while, the ethanol separates from the gasoline and starts to attract moisture. He says if you run your mower regularly, a couple times a month, using gas with ten percent ethanol should be fine.

But for smaller engines like chain saws, leaf blowers and trimmers, especially ones that might sit a month or two before being used, you can use this small engine fuel. It's gas that contains no ethanol. You can find it at most hardware stores. It may cost a little more, but it can stand a lot longer in the engine.

Milligan says at the end of the season, you should run you engines dry if you've been using gasoline with ethanol. He also says stay away from gasoline that contains more than ten percent ethanol. "All the manufacturers state that their equipment will run on ten percent ethanol or less. Anything over ten percent ethanol, they will void the warranty on it."

There are still gas stations available that do sell ethanol free gas. You can search for one near you at puregas.org.

Or go to my website, clarkhoward.com.

Watch Clark Howard weekday mornings on Action News This Morning on FOX30 beginning at 7 a.m.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Fred Thompson - 5/6/2013 11:55 AM
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Be aware' any gasoline with more than 10% like 15% can and will cause problems for your automobile as well.

Carole - 5/6/2013 11:41 AM
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The website address for Pure-Gas is actually pure-gas.org, not puregas.org.
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