OPEI Survey Shows Consumer Uncertainty About Ethanol

OPEI_logoConsumers in the United States may not be ready when it comes to using higher ethanol fuel blends.

In an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive for OPEI, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, one of the key findings showed that the majority of Americans are “not sure at all” if it is illegal or legal to put high level ethanol gas into engines.

The EPA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, has introduced mid-level ethanol blends, including E15, E30 and E85, for use in small automobiles to comply with the federal renewable fuel mandate.

“The problem is that these higher ethanol fuel blends may be dispensed alongside current fuels, but they are illegal and risky to use in hundreds of millions of small engine products and applications,” OPEI says.

Some of the small engines include, mowers, garden tractors, chainsaws, boats, snow throwers, trimmers, UTVs, power washers, blowers, chippers, grinders, generators, jaws of life, concrete saws and other compact construction equipment, as well as water pumps and irrigation systems.

Conducted between July 31 and Aug. 2 of this year, the study surveyed 2,040 adults in the United States ages 18 and older about fuel buying behavior and fuel awareness at gas stations.

Key Findings of Survey

  • The vast majority of Americans (71 percent) are “not at all sure” if it is illegal or legal to put high level ethanol gas (i.e., anything higher than 10 percent ethanol) into engines such as those in boats, mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, generators and other engine products.

  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans say they assume that any gas sold at the gas station is safe for all of their cars, as well as boats, mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, generators and other engine products.

  • For Americans who drive up to the fuel pump, price is overwhelmingly the number one thing they notice (91 percent).  Whether the pump accepts credit cards (64 percent) and the octane rating (55 percent) come in second and third place. Only a quarter (25 percent) of these Americans notices the ethanol content. 

  • Seven-in-ten (71 percent) Americans say they use the least expensive grade of gasoline whenever possible.

OPEI will be launching an ethanol education and consumer protection campaign at the 2013 GIE+EXPO to educate consumers about the variety of fuels available at the pump, and how to identify the right fuel for their outdoor power equipment.

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