Bad Gas in a New Generator

It has been an unusual season for tornadoes in the South—several records have been set for most tornados in a day, longest on the ground, most deaths in some states, etc.  It made me glad I bought a gasoline-powered generator three years ago.

The generator was uncrated, filled with gasoline, and parked in the garage under a customized cover.  When the latest round of tornados produced a power outage, the generator was uncovered for duty.  The generator was still bright and shiny like the day it was purchased!  But, it failed to crank.  Fortunately, the power came back on before everything in the refrigerator was in jeopardy.

When later I mentioned to the Ace Hardware guy that I could not get the generator to start, he gave me a two-word solution…”bad gas!”  At first I thought it was a crude joke!  However, I was supposed to change the gas in the generator every few months.  Even with a fuel system stabilizer added, gasoline can go bad in a year making the lawn mower, weed eater or generator hard to start…or, impossible to start.

Too often service providers put “bad gas in a new generator.”  They focus on ways to make the experience shiny, but forget to do the basics.  It is the super friendly clerk who makes a simple technical error.  It is the much-needed item delivered right on time, but broken when opened.  It is the warm, helpful desk clerk telling your reserved hotel room is not ready when you check in.  Doing the basics takes perpetual maintenance and attention to detail.  What can you do to never put “bad gas in a new generator?”

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.