If you have paid a fair bit of money to buy a snow blower, then you want it to work as efficiently as possible.
The last thing you need is for it not to start when you have a lot of snow to deal with.
That probably explains why one of the most frequently asked questions about these machines is what kind of gas does a snow blower use?
Because using the right gas with any small engine has a significant effect on how smoothly it runs.
With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some of the most popular kinds of gas and see which you should really be using in your snow blower.
So let’s get started…
What Kind Of Gas Does A Snow Blower Use?
A snow blower can use regular (E10) gas, but the ethanol in regular gas will cause problems. If possible you should always use ethanol-free gas in your snow blower, but if you can’t find that use regular (E10) gas with a stabilizer added. You can also use TruFuel, which is excellent but quite expensive.
OPTION #1: Regular (E10) Gas
Almost all gas available in the USA is a blend of gasoline and (usually) 10% ethanol, sometimes known as an E10 blend.
If you purchased gas from a regular gas station for your snow blower, without taking note of the pump it came from, it is almost certainly an E10 blend.
And the honest truth is, most equipment built in the past couple of decades is probably made to run on E10 gas.
But the issue with E10 gas is the problems the ethanol part can cause.
Ethanol attracts and absorbs moisture. Since water is heavier than fuel this moisture sinks to the bottom of the tank and ends up in the bottom of the carburetor float bowl.
Here it can quite quickly clog up the carburetor and cause issues with the running of your snow blower.
Obviously this isn’t good.
But, your snow blower will run just fine on E10 gas initially, and if you cycle through the gas pretty quickly (ie within two to three weeks), any issues will be minimized.
The problems come if you leave E10 gas in your snow blower (or a gas can) for anything longer than a month or so.
By then it will gum up the carburetor.
If you have to get E10 fuel you can add stabilizer to the fuel to prolong its useful life span (more details about this are below).
IN SHORT: Your snow blower will run fine on E10 gas, but it will quickly clog the carburetor due to the presence of ethanol in gas. If you do have to use E10 gas cycle through it quickly or add a fuel stabilizer to it.
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OPTION #2: Ethanol Free
The very best kind of gas you can use to prolong the life of your snow blower, and to make sure it runs efficiently is ethanol-free gas.
Typically you can find non-ethanol fuel by looking for the 91 octane pump at a gas station.
The lack of ethanol in the gas means that the fuel does not absorb moisture in the air and so does not bring about any of the issues that E10 gas does.
Ethanol-free gas is particularly important to use in 2-stroke engines that rely on fuel for lubrication.
IN SHORT: Ethanol-free gas of any kind is the way to go. However, it is more difficult to find.
OPTION #3: Premium Gas/Higher Octane Gas
Ok I have to break something to you, premium gas or higher octane gas will make no difference to a small engine at all, unless it is ethanol-free gas.
And yes, premium gas doesn’t necessarily mean ethanol-free gas.
In fact most grades of gas these days have 10% ethanol in them.
Higher octane gas simply means it can take a higher compression before it self-ignites.
The only time higher octane gas might help is if you have a highly carburized cylinder head and the engine is knocking. In this scenario higher octane gas might prevent that.
But generally as small engines have such low compression ratios and fixed ignition timing, higher octane or premium gas will not make any difference.
RELATED ===> Can You Use Old Gas In A Snow Blower?
IN SHORT: Premium gas or higher octane gas is only of benefit to your snowblower if it is ethanol free. Other than that it won’t make any difference.
OPTION #4: ‘Old’ Gas
We have already touched on this in the article, but old, stale gas is one of the biggest killers of small engines out there!
The only exception to this is if you have put fuel stabilizer in the gas. Then it will be kept usable for longer.
Steer clear of it.
IN SHORT: Old, unstabilized gas will gum up the fuel system in any small engine. Don’t use it.
OPTION #5: Gas With Stabilizer In It
Gas stabilizer grabs the oxygen that is in regular gasoline and lowers the ability of the fuel to attract and retain moisture.
In effect it means if you use a gas stabilizer there is less chance of a gummed-up carburetor and a less-than-efficient engine.
Most fuel stabilizers claim that adding stabilizer to E10 gas effectively keeps the fuel fresh for 24 months.
If you are using E10 gas then I would be sure to add stabilizer to every can of gas you have.
Stabilizer should also be used if you are storing your snow blower for the season with gas in it
If you are planning of leaving non-ethanol gas sitting for more than six months you should even add a stabilizer to that.
IN SHORT: Adding a stabilizer to your E10 (or even ethanol-free) gas will prolong its life and keep it fresher. Good gas stabilizers include STA-BIL, Sea Foam and Star Tron
OPTION #6: TruFuel
TruFuel is an ethanol-free gas that is already pre-mixed with a fuel stabilizer.
TruFuel is very high quality, but it is very expensive.
It is your next best option after ethanol-free gas, but it is considerably more expensive than buying fuel stabilizer and adding that to E10 gas.
IN SHORT: If you aren’t concerned about money and can get TruFuel but not ethanol-free gas, then go for the TruFuel. Otherwise E10 fuel with fuel stabilizer added is a cheaper option.
Storing Your Snow Blower in the Off Season
There tend to be two trains of thought when it comes to storing your snow blower in the off season.
Option 1: Run It Dry
Drain the fuel from the fuel tank and carburetor and/or use the gas shutoff valve and run the engine until it stalls so you know it is completely empty.
Store the blower empty and dry in the months it isn’t being used.
The old gas can go into the car if need be. It will be diluted by anything already in the tank.
Then simply add fresh gas at the start of the next season and you will be good to go.
Option 2: Keep the Tank Full
The other approach is to store the snow blower with a tank full of stabilized fuel.
The thinking behind this is that humidity is drawn into the tank and it condenses and reduces the amount of moisture that can get in.
I prefer option 1, but option 2 will probably work if you live somewhere with mild winters. If you live anywhere else store it dry as humidity will not be an issue.
In order of gas choice preference I would say:
- Ethanol-free fuel.
- Regular (E10) fuel with stabilizer added.
- Regular (E10) fuel without stabilizer added.
Whether it is so-called premium or higher octane gas doesn’t matter at all.
And any old gas should definitely be avoided!
The problem with regular gas is the ethanol content in it. This attracts moisture and leads to a clogged up carburetor, affecting the performance of your snow blower.
Ethanol-free gas takes away this problem and is the best choice for a snow blower or any small engine.
TruFuel is great too but is a lot more expensive.
The only issue with ethanol-free gas is that it can be difficult to find so if you are going to use regular gas make sure you add a stabilizer to it.