photoGo just about anywhere these days to buy gasoline and it will have at least 10 percent ethanol in it, part of a federal mandate to stretch gasoline supplies. Unfortunately, most small engines don't react very well to it.

“The ethanol based gas sold here is ruining small engines such as my Mantis tiller,” Doris, of Longansport, Ind., told “I had to take it to a repair shop twice. The man told me the gas is ruining them by the droves. He shook a small vial of gas and set it on the table. He told me to watch it. I could see the gas separating from the ethanol or water, whatever it was. He said it is the ethanol in the gas that is ruining our small engines. I feel we should be reimbursed for the repairs we have had to do because of ethanol in our gas."

Well, don't count on it. But in an interesting vote last week, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to kill the tax subsidy for ethanol. A lot of people argue that the U.S. should drop its experiment with ethanol, not so much because of what it does to small engines, but because they say using corn to make fuel runs up the cost of food. The ethanol industry denies that's the case.

Breaking glass

We've gotten reports of glass baking dishes exploding in the oven, and even in the dishwasher. Now we're getting this report of the glass in an oven doing the same thing.

“The glass in the top oven of my Jenn-Air double wall oven exploded all over my kitchen,” Kathy, of Garnet Valley, said. “Glass was on the counter top, on my cook top, had gone into the family room and a shard of glass embedded itself in my toaster.”

In addition to the damage, Kathy is very concerned about the safety issue exploding glass represents. Says says if one of her grandchildren had walking by at the time, it would have been a disaster.

Extremely fine print

Bunny, of New York City, tells us she bought Sally Hansen Hard As Nails polish and, when she went to read the list of ingredients on the label, was unable to with the naked eye.

“It was impossible even with a magnifying glass,” Bunny told “The letters are extremely tiny and white - this on a pink polish and I could not read one word.”

Bunny is concerned that there could be chemicals in the polish that she doesn't want to use. Nail polish bottles are small and therefore, so are the labels. Still, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probably does have minimum standards for font sizes for ingredients. Bunny should file a complaint with the FTC.

An inspection could save you later

When we hit the car rental counter at the airport, we tend to be in a rush and want to get on our way. But make sure you take a good look at the car before you leave the lot. Shipa, of Irving, Tex., says he was confronted at the Alamo check-in counter with what he said was old damage to the car.

“The lady at check in showed me some old scratch marks at the rear bumper near trunk, and started yelling at me,” Shipa said. “When I told her I was not aware of the marks, she said good luck to you and made a claim ticket.”

Shipa said the scratches were already on the vehicle but he checked it out, but he has no way to prove it. Always thoroughly inspect the vehicle with a rental car representative and have them sign on to note any pre-existing damage. Otherwise, refuse to take the car.