I didn’t have any luck searching for this on your website. May be something you consider for a future article.
How well/poorly do portable generators function using “ethanol gas” (E-10 ‘the normal mix”, and E-15 [or higher] which various lobbies seem to want to foist on us)? How about going all the way to E-85 if you can’t obtain/forage/swap for “the good stuff”? Even with stabilizers, the ethanol is very hygroscopic so goes bad fast, but what about a post-hurricane/tornado/etc. scenario where it hasn’t had to sit long in the tank?
I got to thinking in the post-Maria coverage that I didn’t know how well generators tolerated ethanol? Because it reduces the “energy density” of the fuel, would the power generated make it past the controller? Screw up your system?
I know enough to be dangerous about how it potentially affects motor/vehicle operation, but almost nothing about potential effects when you throw in power generation and trying to keep it “clean” and steady enough for modern electronics.
Small engines usually don’t fare very well on the oxygenated gas. Among the issues is that the alcohol is hard on the rubber hoses and gaskets. Older generators that are not made from some of the newer plastics will be destroyed in short order. However, many of the newer generators are rated by the manufacture for E-10 and E-15. As a general rule, I prefer to seek out non-oxygenated fuels for my small engines (generators, weed whackers, et cetera.) To know for sure, you need to contact the manufacture of your small engine and get their recommendation.
Most small generators die because they are not used enough and moisture from various sources (humidity, water and/or alcohol in the fuel) causes rusting issues. The obvious solution there is to make sure that you are firing up your generator at least on a monthly basis to keep it lubed and clean. Alternatively, you need to winterize for long term storage.