ALEXANDRIA, VA – As consumers head to retail stores this spring to purchase mowers, chain saws, generators, blowers, trimmers, power washers, and a host of other small engine equipment, they’ll notice an ethanol fuel message from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). The message to “Look Before You Pump” is designed to help consumers protect their outdoor power and small engine equipment investments.
In thousands of retail store aisles across the country and in spring preview circulars and catalogs, consumers will be reminded that it is harmful and illegal to use ethanol blends higher than E10 in outdoor power equipment or other non-road product, such as boats, snowmobiles and motorcycles, with the exception of "flex-fuel" engine products. Independent dealers began using the “Look Before You Pump” message in their stores in fall 2013.
Lowe's and Walmart are using in-store signage and circulars, and True Value Hardware is highlighting the program on the back cover of its spring outdoor power catalog. Additionally, Scripps Networks Interactive's DIY Network is supporting the program through social media promotion, custom research and in-show messaging.
“OPEI’s ‘Look Before You Pump’ campaign is designed to protect consumers’ equipment investment by educating them on using the right fuel for the right product,” said Michael Jones, chief merchandising officer at Lowe's, in a press release. “The campaign offers a simple yet effective way to inform customers about the adverse impact of higher than 10% ethanol fuel blends on outdoor power equipment for which it is not designed.”
“It's imperative that the consumer is educated about the changing fuels marketplace and getting the right fuel for the right product,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.
Research shows high-ethanol blends of gasoline can damage or destroy small engines not designed to handle it. A summer 2013 OPEI/Harris Interactive study shows the vast majority of Americans (71%) are "not at all sure" if it is illegal or legal to put high level ethanol gas (i.e., anything higher than 10% ethanol) into engines such as those in boats, mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, generators and other engine products.