THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- With warmer weather on the way, one Thomasville business owner has a warning before you start to pull out lawn equipment this Spring.
"First thing to do is drain any gasoline from your lawn mower and equipment, and get rid of old gas sitting in cans all winter," said Keith Beasley.
Beasley owns Thomasville Lawn and Garden on National Highway in Thomasville. He estimates 75-80% of their business is a result of fuel problems, often associated with ethanol gasoline.
"[Ethanol] being from a corn base it is gritty. Inside a carburetors there are a lot of small tiny passages that the grit will just get stopped and can't go through," Beasley explained.
He said the grit can affect several parts of your lawn equipment because small engines can't burn the ethanol. Residue left behind can prevent the equipment from starting or re-starting.
Ron Stanely with Simply Green Lawn Service noticed problems in one of his lawn mowers this week. When he called about getting it repaired, they immediately identified it to likely be a fuel-related problem.
"We don't want to burn our engines up, but you have to consider the cost, too," said Stanley.
Ethanol-free gas can be thirty cents more per gallon. It's also difficult to locate; not all service stations offer ethanol-free options.
Regular gas is a blend of gasoline and up to 15% ethanol.
"A lot of places just sell regular basic gas. Trying to find [pure gas] sometimes is harder," added Stanley.
He agreed that finding pure gasoline would be ideal, but it's not always plausible as they move from job to job throughout the day.
Vintage cars can also be victims of ethanol-related problems.
Red Charles has restored more than a dozen trucks and cars. He's very particular about what goes into the vehicles, especially his Carolina blue 1955 Chevrolet truck.
"[Ethanol gas] will separate. I've drained it out and let it sit overnight in a container, next morning there'll be water in the bottom of it," explained Charles.
Many Automobile clubs and even AAA have voiced concerns over ethanol-blend gasoline. They report problems with boats, motorcycles, cars and small-engine machines.
There is a list of service stations that offer ethanol-free gasoline online at pure-gas.org.