-- Last Updated: Nov-26-12 8:42 PM EST --
By your reasoning, we should all be using reel-style push mowers on our lawns and driving the horse and wagon to work. Naturally, engines can and do break down, but it's hardly a reason not to use them in situations where they are the best tool for the job. I've been using the same outboard motor for fishing since 1978, and have never had a single moment when it gave me a bit of trouble. It has sat through some long periods of disuse too, a few times even for years at at time while I was away at school or working in another town at a job that turned out not to be permanent, but never did it fail to start right up the next time it was used. About ten years ago I gave away the old outboard motor that my dad used for most of the years when I was growing up (I gave it to someone who collected and restored them). That motor wouldn't start at the time, and clearly needed work before it would run, but it had been used a lot over its 55-year life by three different owners, and had never failed to start until then. In between periods of use, it had sat unused for years at a time too. While that old motor was in our family it had the gas run out of the carburetor after each and every use, same as I do with the motor I use now, but the gas was never disposed of in the off season. Once that motor was mine, I did what I do with my current motor, and that is, when winter comes, I use up any leftover gas by burning it in my car (the amount of oil contained in a few gallons of two-cycle mix is miniscule after it's put into a full fuel tank of a car, so there's no issue with how the car runs). It's not like avoiding the use of old gas takes talent or effort, just as "remembering" to let gas flow into the carburetor again before pulling the rope is no more difficult than remembering to bring the keys to your car - it's just part of the process.
These examples of reliability aren't unusual. If you hang out with people who fish, now and then you'll see motors that fail to start, but you'll also see scads of them that have been trouble-free for as long or longer than most of us have been alive.