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OPEI poll shows consumers lack education on new fuels

March 20, 2017 -  By

LBYP_2016_9_13_16_2Though consumers are increasingly aware of the fuel they are using, reports of misfueling and improper fueling practices are on the rise, according to a poll recently released by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

“While most people seem to be aware that there is ethanol in gasoline, the poll results show increased misfueling,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “This raises big concerns as different ethanol content fuels become available in the marketplace.”

On the bright side, the 2016 OPEI survey, which studied more than 2,000 adults and was conducted by Harris Poll, found that 44 percent of respondents who own outdoor power equipment are paying attention to the type of fuel they use, up from 36 percent last year. Additionally, 84 percent said they are aware that ethanol is in gasoline. This number remains steady from years past.

More concerning, OPEI said, is 5 percent of respondents admitted to incorrectly using an E15 or higher ethanol fuel in an engine not designed for it. That number was up from 3 percent in 2015. Additionally, three in five Americans, or 63 percent, reportedly assume that any gas sold at fueling stations is safe for any car or nonroad product, like a mower, and 31 percent believe higher ethanol blends are safe to use in any engine.

Price continues to drive consumer choice when purchasing gas, as 69 percent of Americans admitted to choosing the least expensive gas whenever possible—a number that was up from 63 percent in 2015. Only 25 percent of Americans said they notice the ethanol content at the pump, and 55 percent claim to pay attention to warning labels on the pump only if they say “warning” or “do not use in.”

“Hundreds of millions of pieces of legacy outdoor power equipment products are in use today that are designed and warranted to run on E10 or less fuel,” Kiser said. “Remember E15 is unlawful to use, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. With higher ethanol blends available for sale, such as E15, E30 and E85, it’s up to all of us to educate consumers about selecting the right fuel for the right product. Consumers can no longer assume that what goes in their truck or car is right for their lawn mower, snow blower, chainsaw, generator or other piece of outdoor power equipment.”

Fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol can have harmful effects on outdoor power equipment not developed for these types of fuels, OPEI said, citing a Department of Energy study. The study found that E15 fuel caused hotter operating temperatures, unintentional clutch engagement, erratic running and engine-part failure.

Photo: OPEI

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About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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