Guys like gas power, the noise, the smell, the power, ahh spring! Unfortunately gas engines do not like to fire up after sitting for a while unless you properly winterized them. The main culprit 95% of the time is bad gas. With record gas prices you would think the quality of gas is going up, well that is not the case. Todays gas is cheaply refined and the quality is so bad that after 30 days the gas goes stale. The government also came along and thought that it would be a brilliant idea to use our food supply (corn) to fuel our vehicles and now corn based ethanol is blended into gas. Ethanol is not the greatest thing for your engine. It can eat gaskets and rust the internal components of your engine. There are a few options to battle against ethanol damage.
First, get some fresh gas from a busy gas station that frequently gets deliveries of fuel. This will ensure you get fresh fuel. Next, I always recommend you add Stabil fuel stabilizer right away to your gas can. Unless you are running a lot of fuel through your machines just buy the small packets or bottles of Stabil. Once opened it has a 2 year shelf life. Now that we have you in the habit of putting fresh, stabilized gas in all of your equipment the battle is half won. If you suspect bad gas, drain as much as you can and replace it with your fresh gas. You can also purchase Mechanic in a Bottle, which rescues old gas. They also have a gasoline test kit that I have not used.
Another fuel option is TruFuel which is an Ethanol free fuel that comes pre mixed for 50:1 and 40:1 engines and also has a 4 cycle non oil mix version. This is a great option for the homeowner or someone who would use 1 or 2 32 oz cans per season. After all a gallon of this stuff is over $30. Trufuel has a 2 year shelf life and I actually used a can on our Husqvarna 455 Rancher. The throttle was responsive and it started first pull. I felt it ran better than with the fuel I mixed on my own.