By Peter O'Dowd
Laramie, WY – Mechanics and small-engine manufactures worry the government's mandate to increase ethanol production will damage lawnmowers, chainsaws and boat motors. Small engines are not designed to run on gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol. Mechanics say the blend can corrode the engine's interior.
Kris Kiser, with the small-engine advocate group ALLSAFE, says that few people understand the consequences at the gas station: "If they drive up to a pump and see E-20, E-30, E-40, E-50, they aren't going to know what that means. Even if they do know that E-30 means 30 percent ethanol if they are selling it at the pump, I think there is the assumption that it's OK. That it's going to work in whatever I put it in."
Wyoming has a limited number of high-concentration ethanol pumps now. But some worry the problem is about to increase as ethanol fuel becomes more common across the U-S. The law mandates producing 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022. Only 9 billion gallons are mandated in 2008.