Why Is There No Gasoline Option for Standby Generators?

Why Is There No Gasoline Option for Standby Generators?

So your car, lawn equipment and old portable probably runs on it, so why can’t your generator?

This is actually a very good common question. At first glance, it might sound like a decent and convenient option but once you dig into it you’ll find there is basically no such thing as a standby home generator that runs on gasoline for good reason

  1. Gasoline has poor storage life

  2. Modern gasoline destroys carburetors

  3. Risks and safety


Ever had an old lawn mower or motorcycle you were just certain ran when put away however many years ago only to find a pile of soggy rust where there used to be guel? Because of gas’ tendency to break down and also corrode many metals when stored for a long time, it is typically not a good solution for a system that may only run periodically.

The gasoline first changes consistency and its combustibility can become inadequate, then tends to break down into a solvent that can cause corrosion. While fuel stabilizers can extend the practical storage life of gasoline, for a system that runs as-needed it would still inevitably break down given enough time.

Think about how often you use up you gas tank and fill up your car? That’s the kind of frequent cycling that works for gas.


This is no new information to any classic car owners out there. Modern gasoline has a hidden secret: ethanol.

Ethanol is the alcohol manufactured typically from plant products that is added to modern gas to economically raise its octane and is the subject to some devices politics we won’t get into here. Suffice to say its added any pretty much any gas you run into at a gas station.

So whats wrong with it in terms of powering your generator? It probably powers your car every single day. The point is again corrosion.

As for pretty much any air-cooled generator, to make the unit affordable to you, standby generators tend to use carburetors instead of fuel injection. This is actually a super practical solution for generators as they are typically powered by natural gas or propane. Both of these fuels are already gaseous by the time they reach the generator, which unlike cars of yesteryear this gas-and-gas typically works flawlessly without ever need any sort of adjustment or repair.

However; ethanol destroy carbs. Ethanol tends to act as a solvent, oxidizing the inner metal surfaces as it expands or sits as a liquid inside the carburator. Pretty quickly this can cause the carburetor to act abnormal and eventually clog up with oxidized gunk. This is why if you really want to get a long time out of your power equipment you should use ethanol free gas from a retail or race store which is much more expensive, less available and less convenient.

Ask a classic car enthusiast, they’ll tell you all about it.


Think about it, besides whatever technical differences does having a big tank of gasoline in your back yard sounds like a good idea? Enough fuel to run a generator for a week in a tanks is a combustion concern for sure.

Diesel is inherently safer and natural gas and propane have systems and equipment specifically designed to regulate and control the fuel flow in a safe and protected manner. Unlike your power equipment or perhaps old portable generator, because a standby generator in permanently installed in your home it has to be designed and listed by a safety listing agency (typically UL) and inspected to ensure you and your properties safety.

Technically you could rig up a gasoline fuel source to most Kohler generators. Kohler even manufacturs a ‘Tri-Fuel’ regulator setup, but unless your working on some sort of take-your-own-risk agricultural or industrial rig its just a bad idea.

We’re happy to help you out with your fuel system needs. We strive to handle as much of the process as possible for you and coordination with a propane or natural gas installer, or diesel provider (for industrial generators) is something we absolutely consider within our scope.



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