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Old 08-02-2013, 08:37 PM   #1
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Gas for generator

We have a new Honda EU3000is generator.
As my husband GPO (great and powerful Obiwan) would say-" Quiet it is".

My question: there is a gas station in town selling ethanol free gas. Other stations indicate their gas may contain up to 10% ethanol. Will the generator run better on the ethanol free gas?

Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:44 PM   #2
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You won't see any negligible difference...
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:44 PM   #3
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It will have more power with 100% gasoline. Ethanol has less BTUs per unit of measure than gasoline. Your owners manual should give you guidance how much ethanol can be used before voiding the warranty.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:18 PM   #4
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If you can get ethanol-free gas for your generator, do it. Running fresh ethanol/gas blends in your generator will not harm it, however...ethanol is an alcohol and alcohol has a natural affinity to attract and absorb water. Since water and petroleum don't mix, over time this can contribute to octane loss and phase separation which is a contamination of the fuel. This contaminated fuel should not be used. In your automobile, we burn through fuel at a faster rate so it is not so much an issue. Generators, and other gas power tools tend to be used sporadically and when the fuel sits it them it will eventually become a problem. Honda generators are particularly sensitive to old fuel, and can readily develop fuel related carburation problems.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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If you can get ethanol-free gas for your generator, do it. Running fresh ethanol/gas blends in your generator will not harm it, however...ethanol is an alcohol and alcohol has a natural affinity to attract and absorb water. Since water and petroleum don't mix, over time this can contribute to octane loss and phase separation which is a contamination of the fuel. This contaminated fuel should not be used. In your automobile, we burn through fuel at a faster rate so it is not so much an issue. Generators, and other gas power tools tend to be used sporadically and when the fuel sits it them it will eventually become a problem. Honda generators are particularly sensitive to old fuel, and can readily develop fuel related carburation problems.
The easiest solution is, always make sure the tank and carburetor bowl are empty when you store your generator. In other words, run it completely out of fuel when you're done with it. No fuel means nothing to phase separate, nothing to absorb water.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for the posts and great info from CA Streamer. We're going ethanol free whenever we can!
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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I have a Honda 1000 and a 3000 generator. I always use ethanol free gas in both, as well as all of my other small engines such as my mower and my ATV's. It has improved the operation of every one and there is far less maintenance. I think it makes a real difference in carburetor engines, but not much difference in fuel injected ones, such as full sized recent cars.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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My intuition told me that the pure gas must be better...so it is terrific to have some science to support that assumption!
We are in hurricane season down here in Louisiana so properly functioning generators are pretty important. Will take Protagonist's advice about storing the generator empty and will store up some of the good stuff.

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Old 08-02-2013, 10:41 PM   #9
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The easiest solution is, always make sure the tank and carburetor bowl are empty when you store your generator. In other words, run it completely out of fuel when you're done with it. No fuel means nothing to phase separate, nothing to absorb water.
This solution is certainly a second best case scenario, and one I use since I don't have ethanol free fuel available to me. This approach means I have to empty the generator tank of fuel which is not easy to do, then start and run the gen until it quits. I don't want to do this all the time, and quite frankly, I forget to do it. However, since petroleum fuel deteriorates very slowly over time, IMHO it is much easier to use it, and not have to worry about about dumping the existing ethanol mixed fuel.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:55 PM   #10
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However, since petroleum fuel does not deteriorate over time, IMHO it is much easier to use it, and not have to worry about about dumping the existing ethanol mixed fuel.
No argument there. But not everyone has access to ethanol-free gasoline. Ethanol-free fuel does degrade over timeó but it takes a couple of years, not months, so for most people it doesn't make a difference.

If the generator (or lawn mower, or whatever small carburated engine) is going to be stored for less than two months, it's probably okay to store it even with ethanol fuel in it; a rule of thumb is the e-fuel is only good for about three months from the date of purchase. Maybe less in really humid climates like the Gulf Coast where phase separation happens more quickly.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:00 AM   #11
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Gasoline of either flavor will deteriorate over time. That's why it's a good idea to add Stabilizer.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:09 AM   #12
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Second the use of fuel stabilizer additive. It is inexpensive enough to use it all the time, just in case. The power can go out on a random interval schedule, so if your gasoline is treated and is usable, you are ahead of the game.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:28 AM   #13
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Why not convert to propane on your generator, No more hauling around gas cans or fuel stabilizers, or draining gas tanks. Burns cleaner, leas engine wear. Do a google search for propame conversions and there will be a lot of interesting reading. One company is Generator Conversion Kits to Propane and Natural Gas.. I am not associated with this company in any way.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:31 AM   #14
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For all my small engines, I use non-oxygenated fuel and add polyetheramine (Techron). I close the fuel valve and run the carburetor dry if I don't plan to use it within 3 months. I used to add Stabil stabilizer, but it got to be just too many things to do.
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