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If you have an automobile that runs on gasoline, you should know how long gasoline lasts. It is partly because the functionality of your vehicle’s fuel system components to some extent depends on the quality of gasoline. Gasoline is usually stored in plastic containers. But does gasoline go bad in plastic container? In this post, we will try to find an answer to this question.

Does gasoline go bad?

Yes, you gasoline will go bad if it is left out for too long. Usually, gasoline has a pretty long lifespan. Depending on the type of gasoline, it may last for years. Environmental factors as well as storage factors affect its lifespan.

If your gasoline is exposed to heat, oxygen and humidity for too long, it will go bad. Dust, grime and other contaminants also significantly affect the lifespan of gasoline.

Gasoline, a hydrocarbon mixture, is very rich in energy. When it is refined, sulfur and other impurities are removed. To make sure that the oil has proper octane level, other compounds are added.

Does gasoline go bad in plastic container? Yes it does, and the time depends on a number of factors. The final product is a calibrated compound, but it also deteriorates over time. The volatility and effectiveness of gasoline are affected when the lighter hydrocarbons evaporate.

Understanding the lifespan of gasoline

When gasoline loses its combustibility, it badly affects your vehicle’s fuel system components. You can learn about the lifespan of your stored gasoline by reading the manufacturer’s specifications.

We already know that stored gasoline goes bad. The key is to know when it goes bad. This knowledge can help you save some gasoline expenses. Gasoline can last for a fairly long time if it is stored in a plastic container. It is also stored in a metal tank.

When it comes to choosing a container for storing gasoline, you should choose a small container. This is because a smaller container has a smaller surface area, which means less exposure to air. Make sure that gasoline is stored in a place away from igniting sources.

Proper storage matters 

Due to oxidation and evaporation, gasoline naturally degrades over time. When properly stored, gasoline can last up to 6 months. It can be stored in a metal tank or in a tightly sealed plastic container. Its shelf life depends on its purity and the type of fuel stabilizers used.

Before storing gasoline in a plastic container, the container should be dried properly. It is the moisture content in the container that shortens the shelf life of gasoline.

Ethanol-blended gas

Most gasoline is composed of 10% ethyl alcohol and 90% petroleum-based gas. The shelf life of ethanol-blended gas is up to 3 months. This short shelf life is due to the quick oxidation of ethanol.

Ethanol is hydrophilic and that is why it easily absorbs humidity or water. Does gasoline go bad in plastic container? Yes, partly because it absorbs water. As a rule of thumb, the gas has a short shelf life it contains higher ethanol content.

Pure gasoline

If there is no ethanol in petroleum-based gasoline, and the gasoline is stored in a plastic container, the processes of oxidation and evaporation occur more slowly. And that means pure gasoline has a longer shelf life.  When properly stored, it will last up to 6 months.

Pure gas lasts longer, because it is hydrophobic; it hates water. The bottom line is, the quality of gasoline is an important factor when it comes to its shelf life. Please note by “pure gasoline”, here we mean gasoline with no ethanol. While pure gasoline is hydrophobic, ethanol is hydrophilic.

Shelf life of fuel-stabilized gasoline 

Petroleum-based additives, also know as fuel-stabilizers, are added to gasoline to extend the shelf life of gasoline. Fuel-stabilizers work by slowing down the processes of oxidation and evaporation. The effectiveness of fuel-stabilizers varies, depending on the quality of the product. 

They work best when they are mixed with new gasoline. Fuel stabilizers do not work when they are mixed with old gas. So, if the gas is already contaminated, you can return it to working order by using these additives.

Contaminated gasoline is not necessarily old gasoline

There is a very easy way to assess the condition of gasoline. Pour some freshly pumped gasoline into a glass vessel and then pour some stored gasoline into another glass vessel. Keep the two vessels side by side and compare them. 

If the stored gas smells sour and looks a bit darker than the fresh gas, the stored gas may be old, but not necessarily contaminated. If the ethanol-blended gas has two separate layers of ethanol and gas, the gas is contaminated by oxidation and moisture.

Never use contaminated gas to power vehicles or equipment. It can damage your vehicle’s fuel system components in multiple ways. It can also cause an explosion.

Freshen up old gas with new fuel

Does gasoline go bad in plastic container? So far we have learnt that it does, but there is still hope when your gasoline goes bad. Gasoline that has gone bad has in fact lost its combustibility, and you can make combustible again.

You can still use old gasoline by combining it with fresh gasoline. But it is good to know that the process will result in lower combustibility, and as a result the engine may not start easily.

If you want to use old gas in your lawn equipment, fill the fuel tank with both new gas and old gas. The ideal ratio is 1:1. Your lawn mower will work pretty well. If the ratio is not exactly 1:1, your lawn mower will still work. It depends on the quality of the old gasoline.

A lawn mower is not a very strong machine and highly combustible gasoline is not necessary for it. That is why old gasoline that does not run a car can run a lawn mower.

But when it comes to starting a car, things may not work out so well, because it requires more horsepower. However, you can still use old gas to run your car. You just need to change the ratio. In this case, the ideal ratio is: fresh gas: old gas = 3:1.

How to dispose of old gas

Do not dispose of gasoline in bags, trash cans, streams, lakes, drains or on the ground. Gasoline is highly flammable even when it is contaminated. Just a spark is enough to ignite it. Water sources will get contaminated if they come in contact with gasoline.

There may be some approved disposal sites in your municipality, town or city. The authorities of waste management system may be able to help you find a suitable site. Gasoline should be carried in an airtight container. Make sure the container does not have any leakage.

Does gasoline go bad in plastic container? Yes it does, but the time depends on factors such as the type of gasoline and the type of container. To prevent hazards, proper storage of gasoline is necessary.

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