For professional users of chainsaws and other petrol-powered tools, the choice of fuel can have a significant impact not only on performance or life cycle, but on the wider environment and operator health. Forestry Journal approached three leading brands to ask what different fuels offer and how the market is developing.

WHAT difference can be made by choosing one fuel brand over another? Given forestry professionals spend hours researching chainsaws to ensure they purchase the one that’s right for their needs, it’s surely wise to devote a little time and thought to the question of what to put in it.

The right choice of fuel will optimise performance and increase the life cycle of your petrol-powered tools, so it’s worth giving careful consideration to what’s available on the market. 

“Not all fuels are manufactured equally, especially since the introduction of the E10 standard in 2021, so it’s important for operators to research what fuel options are available and what will ensure the best machinery performance,” said Paul Hicks, marketing and product manager at Stihl GB. 

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“For example, although Stihl tools have been compatible with E10 fuels for many years, we developed Stihl MotoMix, our patented formula which is specifically designed to complement our two-stroke-engine power tools and ensure the highest performance levels.”

The formula is patented and premixed with a 50:1 ratio, meaning there is no risk of adding too little oil, which can cause damage to essential tools. MotoMix uses Stihl’s HP ultra-premium oil for exceptional engine lubrication and cleanliness to add to its multiple user-friendly properties. And it is also kinder to the environment, with fewer emissions than standard pump fuel. 

In addition, it’s both free from ethanol and contains almost no olefins or aromatic components, which is better overall for the environment and the engine itself, avoiding metal corrosion and fuel line degradation which is often caused by ethanol usage in fuels.

“With the introduction of the E10 standard, which ensures petrol grades contain up to 10 per cent renewable ethanol, and the government implementing stringent carbon emissions targets, it’s no surprise alternative fuels are being introduced to the market to help combat this,” said Paul.

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“Now more than ever, manufacturers are looking at how they can develop cleaner fuels that help reduce carbon emissions. Stihl MotoMix continues to grow in popularity because it’s cleaner burning than standard fuel, is ethanol-free and contains almost no olefins or aromatic components.”

Its impact on the environment and operator – or lack thereof – is one of the key reasons for the success of Aspen Fuel. Foresters and arborists who’ve made the switch to its alkylate petrol have significantly reduced their exposure to noxious fumes.

A spokesperson said: “Being virtually free from benzene, sulphur and many other harmful substances including ethanol, Aspen alkylate petrol improves the health and performance of equipment and reduces the negative impacts on the operator and surrounding environment.

“Aspen Fuel is the original and market leader of alkylate fuels and is the only provider who produces, markets and distributes its fuels in house. This leads to a reliable supply chain and a 100 per cent record of being able to deliver. By focusing only on producing the best possible fuel for machinery performance and operator health, companies that choose Aspen Fuel over pump fuels can rely on their machinery to get the job done, whilst toxic exhaust emissions are reduced to a minimum.”

The professional sector is Aspen’s biggest growing market, tied to the increasing value companies put on staff health and a renewed emphasis on lowering the amount of harmful emissions that they produce during their operations.

The spokesperson added: “We are increasingly speaking to companies that are replacing smaller, less power-hungry pieces of machinery with cordless technology and by making this switch, they are realising the more pleasant working environment – then making them turn to Aspen to power their remaining petrol equipment. 

“Aspen has a tried-and-tested record of making a real difference to the working conditions for arb and grounds contractors of all sizes up and down the country.

Forestry Journal:

However, all too often, people can be tentative to give it a try. We are therefore currently running a trial for companies to experience the difference in switching to Aspen alkylate fuel with a money-back guarantee to demonstrate how confident we are that they will see the benefits in their own working environments.”

According to Jonathan Snowball, head of Business Unit Professional UK at Husqvarna, there are several benefits to choosing its fuel for your Husqvarna cutting equipment.

“For our pro chainsaws, our alkylate petrol is manufactured to unique Husqvarna specifications, making it much more efficient than standard petrol, and ensuring that you are getting the very best performance out of your machinery and allowing them to be stored for longer,” he said.

“In particular, our XP Power 2 is conveniently pre-mixed with two per cent of Husqvarna XP synthetic two-stroke oil, providing efficient combustion and leaving a cleaner, cooler, healthier engine with minimal harmful substances in the emissions. Not only that, but it also prevents inner corrosion, makes starting easier, minimises downtime and reduces the need for service. 

“In addition, Husqvarna’s fully synthetic, biodegradable and low-smoke XP Synthetic two-stroke oil is developed for tough use with high loads and engine speed. XP Synthetic contains a high-performance additive package and gives extremely good lubrication, a cleaner engine, and leaves fewer deposits on the piston and in the crankcase compared to competing oils. All our two-stroke oils guarantee high quality and fulfill the tight alkylate standards of the world, therefore are awarded with VEF — Verified Engine Formula.”

Asked how the current market is developing, he said: “With the increasing costs of petrol across the world and pressures on tree professionals to use more environmentally friendly fuels, we are now seeing a higher demand for alkylate fuels in the professional application. 

“Our two-stroke fuels burn cleaner and feature fewer health-hazardous components, while giving increased productivity through a healthier work environment, making them very appealing to professionals. We expect to see interest in more eco-conscious, pre-mixed fuels continue to rise amongst professionals in the coming years, so this developing product category will remain a core focus for us as we continue to diversify our portfolio.”