OPEI concerned about FTC ruling on ethanol labeling on gas pumps

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, issued the following statement on the January 14 announcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on fuel pump labeling of ethanol content in gasoline.

“We appreciate efforts by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate and manage the rapidly changing fuels marketplace, requiring that gas pumps be labeled with percentage of gasoline and percentage of ethanol added,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “However, the agency didn’t go far enough. We fear consumers will remain confused and inadvertently misfuel their small-engine equipment, in particular.”

The new rule issued by the FTC requires ethanol-blended fuels be labeled at the gas pump as: “Use Only in Flex-Fuel Vehicles/May Harm Other Engines.”

Yet, consumer surveys conducted in April and May 2015 found that Americans do not pay much attention to labels at the pump. Less than one quarter (23 percent) stated that they notice the ethanol content on the fuel pump. Less than half (47 percent) of Americans admitted they check the fuel pump for any warning labels when fueling up their cars at gas stations.

OPEI reminds consumers to continue to be vigilant and pay attention at the gas pump, especially when buying fuel for any outdoor power equipment or small-engine product, as the ever-changing and expanding fuel marketplace offers more choices at the gas pump — such as E15, E20, E30 and E85.

“This is a wake-up call for Americans,” added Kiser. “It is more important than ever, for consumers to pay attention at the gas pump. You must put the right fuel, in the right product. We would like for labels to get more attention from consumers and for EPA or the FTC to commit funding to educate consumers about proper fuel usage.”

According to most engine manufacturers, fuels containing greater than 10-percent ethanol can damage or destroy outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, chain saws, generators, utility vehicles and other small-engine equipment such as motorcycle, snowmobile and boat engines. Fuels containing more than 10 percent may void product warranties, and by Federal law, it is illegal to use higher ethanol fuel blends, specifically E15, in outdoor power equipment.

For more information on fueling small-engine equipment properly, visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com.



  1. What procedure do I need to follow to use parts of this article in a letter to the editor of my local newspaper? The average person on the street is not able to get the information given to dealers from your articles.
    My plan is to start a information article to the local newspaper, Daily American Republic, in Poplar Bluff, MO. each month for the next three months before our mowing season starts. This is to educate the customers of the problems that ethanol will have on the outdoor power equipment.

    • Hey, Emmett! Excellent question, and I’m glad you asked it. I ran it by the folks at the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), and they were happy to hear that you want to help as they are actively seeking dealer involvement with educating the public about the damaging effects of ethanol in outdoor power equipment.

      OPEI has several things that can help dealers when it comes to crafting a letter to a local newspaper or spreading the word online or in store. If you go to http://www.TinyURL.com/EthanolEducation, you can register (create your own username/password) and gain access to all kinds of educational materials, such as downloadable fact sheets, videos, social media content, Look Before You Pump logos, etc. Also, if you visit http://www.LookBeforeYouPump.com, you can find more helpful information. You can click on the “for dealers” button from the home page. There is a list of things dealers can do to get involved, and again, language dealers can use in crafting letters, etc.

      If you (or any other dealers) need any further help, please feel free to leave me a comment here, and I’ll be glad to help. Also, please keep us posted on your efforts. Best of luck!

      Steve Noe, editor
      OPE magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *