Gas generators and small engines have some serious problems looming with the influx of ethanol-blended fuel replacing pure gasoline in most gas stations. This influx is unavoidable at the pump - just try to find a gas pump that doesn't have a sticker saying "May Contain Up To 10% Ethanol". October 2010 should bring not only an increase in ethanol from 10 to 15%, but also a phaseout of the remaining exemptions for some kinds of gas stations. It will be ethanol for all.
Owners of small 2-stroke engines that mix fuel and oil are finding that ethanol has terrible effects on the performance of this mixture within their engines.
The ethanol pulls water into the fuel, and the water dilutes the dissolved oil in the blend, ultimately preventing it from reaching all of the parts it needs to to provide adequate lubrication. Poor engine performance and damage are the inevitable result.
Those owners who are lucky enough to side-step the internal damage ethanol does are still very likely to see difficult starting, rough running and increased smoking from their engines, as those machine try to burn off the dissolved resins and hydrolytic breakdown products caused by the dissolved water in the fuel.
Owners of generators and small engines that run on gasoline and ethanol need peak performance and value from their fuels just as much as the owner of a large big-rig transport truck does. Preventive treatments for ethanol that remediate its damaging effects may be the best answer for many consumers.