Mowers beware: Ethanol 10 makes its way to East Texas

By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - East Texan Jack Riggs is buying fuel for his mower, pretty much the routine for lots of people this time of year. What's different about it this weekend is you're probably buying fuel with 10 percent ethanol.

"I'm not even concerned about it. I'm not even sure what ethanol is. It's corn, is that what it is?" said Jack Riggs, a customer who still has questions about ethanol.

That's the source for the alcohol additive now required by federal mandates to clean up the environment. The Deep East Texas region completed its conversion within the last week. Fuel suppliers are preparing for the worse, but hoping for the best.

"There will be some problems. We have to monitor our tanks daily to make sure there's not accumulation of water moisture because that's a culprit," said Doug Jordan, a fuel distributor for Morgan Oil.

A culprit particularly to small engines, according to mechanics across the nation.

"The alcohol mixes with water and forms acidic acid," said Randy Laster with Laster Outdoor Power Equipment.

What happens next can be found in most any small engine or boat-engine repair shop.

"This white material, that's the residue from acidic acids. A perfect example of what happens when alcohol (mixes with water). It's real mush and it's swollen up and it will actually just peel a part, " said Laster.

Just like gas stations did with their supply tanks, consumers are advised to drain or use up gasoline without ethanol before filling up with e-10. You can also buy or make test kits to show you if the gasoline actually contains only 10-percent ethanol. Any percentage higher is reported to be really bad. Also, it's best to buy from stations you trust.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.