If you're having problems getting your lawnmower or boat to start, it might be what's in the gas.
A Team 4 investigation found increasing complaints about ethanol in gas and the effect it has on some engines.What follows is a transcript of the report by Team 4's
Paul Van Osdol reports that the TV station found complaints about what ethanol does to lawnmowers, weed whackers, chain saws and even boats.
Federal law says up to 10 percent of gas can contain ethanol. Experts say some engines are just not equipped to handle high ethanol levels. And the problem could get much worse within the next few months.
Problems are cropping up at many lawmower repair shops, espeically with old carburetors that were replaced after people complained about their mowers or tractors not starting.
Mechanics say most of the problems were the result of ethanol.
Tim Kelleher, J&D Lawn and Tractor: "See the water in the gasoline in there?" mechanic Tim Kelleher says, adding that it's a sure sign of ethanol in gas. "And when too much water gets into lawnmower engines you get this … Won't start, hard starting, starts and stalls, they just can't mow their grass and they get really frustrated. A gasoline engine will not run on water."
Kelleher and other mechanics have taken apart numerous lawnmower engines and they can find no cause for the problems other than ethanol.
"It's been 10 times worse this year than in past years. It's good for business but it's not good for the customers."
And it could get worse. In the next few months the EPA will decide whether to raise the amount of ethanol in gas from 10 to 15 percent.
That's a big concern for Kris Kiser of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which represents the makers of lawnmowers, chainsaws and weed whackers.
Kris Kiser, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute: "There's some very legitimate safety concerns. That's because of government tests of higher-ethanol fuels on small engines. In a neutral position the blades engage. If we're dealing with a chainsaw or a brush cutter or a hedge trimmer in a neutral position where our consumer is holding it, that's very dangerous, so we're very concerned about that."
An EPA spokesman told the television station that they're waiting until all the test results are in before deciding whether to approve the higher ethanol levels. Van Osdol also spoke to a group that represents ethanol producers. They acknowledge there have been problems with boats and lawnmowers but they say those can be avoided with proper maintenance.