There are so many appliances with engines and so many gas varieties that it can be very confusing to know what to use. You may have heard horror stories of people needing expensive work done because of gas issues, but is there special gas for a mower?
Standard 87 octane fuel from any regular gas station with an ethanol content below 10% will work fine for most lawn mowers. A fuel stabilizer will also help make sure a mower lasts long term without getting damaged. It is not advisable to use higher than 87 octane gas.
I’ll take you through the science behind how gas is rated, as well as the best gas to use for a lawn mower. We’ll look at some common mistakes that are easy to make as well as some tips for maintaining your mower for years to come.
Is It Okay To Use a Gas Station for a Mower?
Gas stations stock a wide variety of fuels, including premium grades. This is sometimes measured via octane ratings.
Octane ratings are a reflection of the combustibility of the fuel. The gas is pressurized and the pressure rating at which the fuel spontaneously combusts or ignites by itself is how it gets given an octane rating.
This means that the fuel is less likely to combust inside the engine when it’s not supposed to. This can cause damage to an engine and be very expensive to repair.
Higher octane fuels are needed for engines that use a higher compression ratio or require it to meet the needs of a supercharger or turbocharger.
However, there’s no need to run a small lawnmower engine on premium gas or high octane gas. It will operate more efficiently but you will definitely notice the higher operating costs. It’s not even guaranteed to improve the performance of the mower engine.
This means you’re paying more to get the same result as if you were using a lower octane fuel.
If you’re looking for maximum performance, your best bet is to grab some pre-blended ethanol-free fuel.
Amazon stocks TruFuel Pre-Blended 2-Cycle Fuel, perfect for lawn mowers. While meant for a 2 stroke engine, it is also meant for engines that take 50:1 fuel ratio. Some mowers are listed as taking 30:1 specification, but these are not as common.
2 stroke engines are best fueled with gas that has added oil. This is sometimes referred to as mixed oil due to the combining of oil and other additives to the gasoline before filling the tank.
Much older 4 stroke lawn mower engines will need specialty fuel, so make sure to investigate which one you have. You’ll need to get some fuel additive that uses potassium to substitute for the leaded gas that older mowers require. This situation is very rare, and you are likely to know you are in need of this type of fuel already.
Nearly all mower owners will be using 87 octane unleaded gas in their mowers and mixed gas with the oil and additives mixed in for their weed eaters and leaf blowers.
For more great articles…
- Is Too Much Fuel Stabilizer In A Mower Bad? (Answered)
- I Put The Wrong Fuel In My Lawn Mower: Here’s How To Fix It
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How To Get Gas For Lawn Mowers At A Gas Station
There are really two ways you can get fuel for your mowers at your local gas station. One involves bringing the mower along and the other requires a gas can that is safe for fuel transport.
Filling Mowers For Homeowners With Smaller Mowers
For most homeowners with smaller mowers it is not likely that transporting them to the station would be feasible or desirable. It would take a monumental effort for some to get them in the back of cars, vans, or lifted onto pickup trucks.
It is more likely that you will want to have gas cans in reserve safely stored in or near your home. These are much easier to transport to the fueling stations and can hold enough for the average homeowner to get several mowings done.
Even those with riding mowers will run into the same logistics problems when trying to get their mowers to a station. Riding mowers present even more of a problem as they are heavier, and are generally not allowed on the streets in most areas.
This would require a special trailer and hitch attachment that is simply unnecessary.
Gas cans in either case would fit the bill. This No-Spill 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can is the one I would recommend from Amazon. It is sturdy and will last for a considerably long time. You will also have the peace of mind knowing that it is spill resistant and an approved container for carrying fuel.
How Commercial Crews Normally Fill Their Mowers
Most commercial crews run rather large mowers that have huge gas tanks. They are normally pulled on specialized trailers that you can sometimes see pulling right up to the pumps at most filling stations.
They normally use a two pronged approach…
- They bring along large gas cans for both mixed and straight gas. This is for fill-ups on the go and in between jobs.
- They also top off most all of their equipment right at the pump using the hose.
This is necessary since they will be running their machines for most of the day and would be complete overkill for the average homeowner. When time is money, these crews aren’t going to want to be left stranded in a field with no fuel.
Is Lawn Mower Gas the Same As Car Gas?
In the end, gas is basically the same and will work fine in your lawn mower. The 87 octane standard fuel you can find at all gas stations will do fine in a lawn mower.
But there are some things to watch out for, including ethanol content and diesel.
Lawn mower engines don’t work well with too high an ethanol content. Gas stations are required to have signage informing you of their ethanol content, but if you’re unsure it’s best to ask the staff.
For lawn mowers, you want to make sure that the gas you’re using has 10% ethanol or less. Sometimes referred to as E10, this is the fuel that contains 10% ethanol.
Ethanol can cause a few issues with smaller engines. Many mowers will have symbols, such as E85 crossed out, or “No E85” written on them, warning you away from high alcohol or ethanol content fuels.
The first is that ethanol is a powerful solvent, causing issues with rubber seals, plastic, fiberglass and other components often found in mowers or handheld appliances with engines.
The other issue is that high ethanol content fuels will begin to separate from the gas component after sitting in the fuel tank. This leads to parts of the gas not containing oil for lubrication, causing a myriad of issues in both the short and long term.
This occurs even when the E10 fuel is sitting in your garage in a tin, so your goal is to try and always have fresh fuel on hand.
There are products advertised as ethanol free gas which would be ideal for a lawn mower.
You should also take care to not leave fuel in the gas tank of the mower for more than a few weeks. Just have enough fuel for the mowing job ahead of you, and then restock next time you need to do some mowing.
Leaving gas in the tank will just cause the ethanol to separate and cause mechanical issues.
Premium fuel stabilizers can be the perfect solution to slow down this process of separation.
Amazon stocks STA-BIL 360 Protection Ethanol Treatment and Fuel Stabilizer that is an easy way to prevent corrosion from ethanol blended fuels and is stated to keep fuel stable for up to 12 months.
Fuel stabilizers can be added to the lawn mower gas tank directly, or into the gas can that you use to fill the mower up.
Diesel is a completely different fuel from gas. The engines work on different principles and so using diesel is not going to work in a gas-powered engine.
It will require a complete flush of the engine and all components if you mistakenly put diesel in. It’s best to avoid this altogether as not only is it useless for running your lawn mower, but it could cause permanent, unfixable damage.
Diesel fuel and gas are fundamentally different substances. While diesel is classified as combustible, gas is a flammable liquid.
This means that diesel requires compression and then a heat source to function. Gas requires a spark or ignition from a spark plug or similar.
The Final Touches On Getting Mower Gas From The Filling Station…
Not only is it normal to fill up your gas cans and mowers at an automobile filling station, but there really is little other choice. Your local gas station sees every kind of container coming and going and they are used to having people fill them up. I would strongly recommend this can from Amazon so that you aren’t confronted by someone for using an unapproved container.
Be sure to know what to add to your blowers, weed eaters, and other 2-cycle engines. And be extra careful with Diesel. That could literally end your mower. Other than that, you should have no problem getting your gas at your local station.
Check out these other great articles…
- Lawn Mower Gas Tank Size: 5 Most Popular Brands
- What Kind Of Gas To Put In A Lawn Mower?
- A Gasoline Spill On Grass And Lawns? How To Fix It!
- Is There A Diesel Push Mower On The Market? (Answered)