Gasoline is the fuel that makes our vehicles and machines start, run and produce suitable transportation and assistance for and to us. Without gasoline, we would be stagnant. So, when it comes to storing our gasoline, how long can you store it and what happens with old gas? We have the answers that you need now!
How Long Can You Store Gasoline?
Your stored gasoline can last three to six months, if it is properly labeled, stored and sealed tightly in a secure plastic or metal container- of the required capacity recommended by your local fire department. It’s good to ask regarding the shelf life about stored gasoline. Why? Well once gasoline loses its ability to ignite an engine, it can cause severe and sometimes irreversible damage to several fuel system components. Before utilizing any stored gasoline for your vehicle, lawn mower tractor or any other kind of vessel that requires gas, you want to ensure that you look at the fuel storage limits.
Thankfully “old” gasoline is not necessarily “bad” gasoline- meaning, the gas is not contaminated or spoiled. Keep reading to find out the “shelf life” of gasoline, proper storage techniques and more.
How Do You Store Gasoline Long Term?
Gasoline can be dangerous if you don’t take the time to store it properly. It’s not a matter of just pouring it into any container and placing it on your garage shelf. Your gasoline should be stored in an approved container and should also be store when it is absolutely necessary. You also want to label the stored gas and write a date on the stored gas. Here are some additional points to remember, when storing your gasoline:
- Your gasoline has to be stored in an approved tank or fuel can. This container is generally about five gallons or less. You also want to leave room in the container that allows for some expansion from the gasoline.
- Be sure that your stored gasoline containers are sealed tightly.
- Make sure that you are gentle with your gasoline containers as to avoid spilling the gas.
- Your gasoline should be stored in a cool place and at room temperature.
- Be sure to keep the stored gasoline away from potential heat sources. This means that your stored gas should not meet the sun or be near any furnace, space heater or hot water heater. This can be dangerous.
- If you’re able to, store your gasoline in a detached garage or shed or garage. You want to make sure that your stored gasoline is at least 50 feet away from any kind of ignition sources- a pilot light is a great example of an ignition source.
- Keep in mind that gas vapors are far heavier than air. Those vapors can also travel throughout the floor, and then to an ignition source.
- If you’re unsure about any storage protocol, just ask your local fire department. You may stop by your local fire department and get some great tips on how to properly store your gas. It’s always better to ASK, if you don’t know!
When Gasoline Splashes on Your Skin…
- If gasoline gets on your skin, head to the nearest sink or water supply, grab the soap and begin to wash it off. Depending on the amount of gasoline that has splashed on you, it may be ideal to take a shower to wash it off thoroughly. Be sure to handle clothing that has gasoline on it. Remove the clothing right away. You don’t want any skin irritations or itching to arise.
- Additionally, be sure that you don’t light a match or smoke, until you are certain that all of the gasoline has been removed and there is not even a TRACE of gasoline on you or your clothing.
- If gasoline splashes in or on your vehicle, take a cloth or a paper towel and wipe it. Chances are, you will certainly smell it so it may be ideal to get some soap and water and clean the area thoroughly. This is why it is a great idea to keep stored gasoline away from vehicles or vessels that take gas.
- You should use gasoline for the purposes intended. Gasoline is motor fuel. Gasoline is NOT fuel for your kerosene lamps or heaters!
- Additionally, NEVER mix gasoline diesel kerosene or diesel.
How Can You Tell If Gasoline Has Gone Bad?
You will know that you have “spoiled” or bad gasoline by just starting your vehicle. Bad gas will produce a rough and botchy idle. Your car will also stall frequently as you accelerate. Spoiled gas can even keep a car from starting at all. Many times, bad gas will also cause many cars to have that dreaded “check engine” light illuminate on the dash. Did you know that bad gas can also look bad? It’s true. Bad gas can have a darker color than usual and can even smell sour. Gas is light in color. Bad gas will be considerably darker and look even murky and cloudy in some instances. Always ask a mechanic about how to remove or fix the issue of spoiled gas in your car.
So, How Do You Keep Your Gas from Spoiling or Expiring Then?
Check out some tips on how to keep your gas from going bad.
Don’t Buy More Gas Than You Will Use
You may have a business that utilizes gas for your machinery and it may make sense to buy extra gas at times. For example, if you blow snow or cut grass for a living, you may keep a bit more gas on your truck or mobile storage unit. But as a good rule of thumb, try not to buy more gas than you will use. It’s better to keep purchasing fresh gas, than to buy lots of gas, only to store it and it eventually spoiling later. You should always keep your gas tanks as full as you can so that you won’t have water condensation. Additionally, if you know that you will be storing your car for the winter, please don’t store your car with a full tank of gas.
Make Sure That You Buy the Freshest Fuel That You Can
You want to have the freshest fuel as possible. So, look for gas stations that are busy. Why? Well with gas pumps that are being used often, the chances of the gas being fresh, are better. A gas station that looks deserted, may not have the freshest fuel for your needs. Try to go when there is not a lot of customers and know when your favorite gas station has steady customers, but not a lot of traffic. All gas stations have those “peak times”.
Do You Have a Gas Cap That Fits? You Should
The job of the gas cap is to keep contaminants such as water and dirt out. So, if you have an ill-fitting gas cap, then you heighten the chances of water, dirt and debris getting in your gas, and damaging and spoiling your fuel. If you have a lost or a loose-fitting cap, then your fuel will not be protected. Thankfully, a new gas cap won’t set you back so, buy one if you need one!
A Fuel Stabilizer May Help
If you think that you may have bad gas in your car, then you may be able to enrich and fix it with a fuel stabilizer. Just fill your tank to the top and then add in the fuel stabilizer. Drive your car for at least 15 minutes, ensuring that the stabilizer is given time to circulate through your vehicle’s fuel system. For many cars, the addition of the fuel stabilizer, could help your gas last up to a year. Be sure to check your local mechanic for assistance.
Can You Mix New Gas with Old Gas?
Standing alone, old gas loses its potency- while it can possibly no longer fire up an engine. But many experts agree that it is indeed safe to use up that old gas, as long as you use it up by diluting the old gas, with newer gas in the tank. Just make sure that you get the assistance you need and follow the correct proportions. The old gasoline mixed with the new gas, will then lower an entire tank’s combustion ability to such a level, that it is no longer a concern. If you only have a half of tank of old gas in your lawn mower- for example, then you can fill up the rest with new gas. You may get a great mixture that will get your mower firing up. You will burn though the mixture quite fast as you cut the grass in your yard. You may also opt to fill up the tank with the fresh gas, as you deplete what is already in the tank and you cut your grass. When you have the desire to mix new gas with old gas, just ask your local car shop or auto supply shop whether or not you need a fuel additive. The fuel additive may help to increase the ratio of new gas to old gas.
Pure Gas Vs. Ethanol-Blended Gas
As we stated in the beginning of our post, pure gasoline without any ethanol blend or additive can last three to six months. Petroleum-based gas without any ethanol will eventually give way to volatile compound evaporation and oxidation. The processes generally happen slower in pure gas. So, expect your pure gas to last a good six months- given that the gas is stored properly.
Ethanol- blended gas typically can last up to three months. This is due to the rate at which ethanol oxidizes. Ethanol is a “water-loving” or a hydrophilic compound. This means that it can readily absorb any moisture, humidity or water in a sealed container. Typically, the higher the ethanol content in the gasoline, the shorter it can last on your shelf.