As I was trolling around, I came across a page from the Briggs & Stratton website: you need to use different gas in a snowblower than in a lawnmower … because gasoline sold in winter is formulated to combust at a lower temperature. So if you must, make sure you buy gas in November or later for Winter.
But must you?
Several years ago, by electric snowblower finally fell to pieces, and I bought a gasoline powered one. Managing the cord on the electric blower is a pain (especially since I had a cord that was not designed for cold so got very stiff). When the gasoline powered blower is going, it is somewhat more convenient. But it’s bigger, and while a bit more powerful than the electric snowblower I had it is not nearly as reliable.
In the first winter, it did pretty well. But man does it stink! I would put on a special jacket, gloves, hat and pants when I used the thing. In the second winter, it was less reliable; in several storms I was either unable to get it started, or it would stall out halfway through (this may be because I was using the wrong gasoline). I ended up using a shovel for most storms, if only because I had become aware of how horrible small engines are for the environment. For example, the University of Michigan published a study which considers the absolute contribution of small engines to the environment, for example
In very approximate terms, about 15 million cars and light trucks are sold annually in the U.S., compared to about 35 million small engines. While each automobile is typically operated between 100 and 1000 times longer than each small engine, their emissions are 100 to 1000 times lower.
I found this link in this great article that proposes alternatives to various small engine uses.
So I have ordered an “Amazing Snow Scoop” and will endeavor to avoid using my evil gasoline snowblower at all this winter. I will also, however, make sure my snowblower is properly tuned (since I have agreed to let my neighbors use it as long as I can proselytize to them as they do :-).