Outdoor power equipment maker kicks off ethanol awareness effort

By Kris Bevill | January 27, 2012

Husqvarna, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of outdoor power equipment, has launched a new promotion focused on educating its customers about ethanol use in small engines. The Husqvarna Ethanol Challenge includes a brief educational video followed by an animated, online quiz which includes nine questions related to the proper storage and use of E10 for small engines such as chainsaws and lawnmowers. The promotion is scheduled to run through May with one participant each month being randomly chosen to receive their choice of a selection of Husqvarna equipment and fuel stabilizers.

In the informational video, available at www.ethanol.husqvarna.com, Husqvarna confirms that E10 is acceptable for use in its equipment, but it recommends that users purchase midgrade 89-octane E10 rather than 87-octane. According to the Husqvarna Technical Services Group, most manufacturers of high performance two-stroke equipment have determined that 89 octane is better for the equipment because higher octane is more effective in preventing spontaneous combustion (detonation) in the combustion chamber. The group also said 89 octane use contributes to cleaner running engines and prevents piston ring sticking. “There are many conditions that would necessitate a higher octane, including higher compression, higher temperatures [and] leaner mixtures that alcohol fuel contributes to,” stated a group representative. “Over the course of a season, the difference in price between regular and premium is minimal for the insurance and benefits achieved.”

While E10 has been widely used as a transportation fuel for some time, Husqvarna continues to receive numerous inquires about ethanol and its effects on small engines, according to the company. Therefore, the company decided to launch the promotion in an effort to alert consumers to issues surrounding ethanol use in small engines and offer advice on how best to use the fuel.

Specific issues addressed in the campaign include ethanol’s propensity to absorb moisture and proper storage and equipment handling measures that can be taken to alleviate that issue. “Using fresh gasoline and storing it properly are in the power of the consumer,” the group said. In the video, Husqvarna recommends that consumers store their gasoline in a vent-free container to prevent moisture absorption and that they vigorously shake the fuel container prior to filling their equipment’s tank.

Additionally, while the company makes clear that all of its equipment produced in the past five years is E10 compatible, it cautioned that some of the components of older small engines may be negatively affected by ethanol. Therefore, the company recommends that consumers completely drain fuel tanks and run the engines until dry before storing seasonal equipment.