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Few things are as irritating as storing a car for the winter, only to have forgotten to add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. You open the door in the spring, dust off the steering wheel, and womp, it doesn’t work. Congrats, you’ve played yourself by forgetting gas has an expiration date.

To stop this from happening again, Car Bibles’ gasoline-gurgling editors have put together this handy-dandy guide on what gasoline is, how it works, how long it lasts, and what you can do to help prolong its life. Let’s kick the tires and light some fires!

Gas cans.
Gas cans.

What is Gasoline?

Gasoline is a refined oil product used to generate combustion inside an internal combustion engine.

How Does Gasoline Work?

When gasoline is sprayed into the combustion chamber with air, and spark is added, the resulting explosion generates enough energy for the engine’s mechanical parts to open, close, and rotate. That energy is then transferred to the driven wheels and to the pavement. The end result is the car moving under its own power.

How Long Does Gas Last?

Most experts agree that there’s no hard-set date, such as you get with a carton of milk. What they do say is that gas will be effective in an internal combustion engine for between 3-6 months, depending on a host of variables such as when it was pumped, how much oxygen reached the tank, and the condition of the tank itself.

Gas pumps.
Gas pumps.

How to Tell If Your Gasoline Has Gone Bad

The easiest way to tell if your gasoline has gone bad is by inspecting its color and smell. Gasoline should be a light yellowish color and you should be able to smell the combustible vapors from not too far away. If it’s darker than normal and lacks that pungent odor gas usually has, it’s likely bad.

There are other methods to tell if your gasoline has gone bad, but they’re dangerous and we don’t recommend nor condone them. At least that’s what our lawyer tells us to say.

How to Prolong Gasoline Shelf-life

Adding a fuel stabilizer before storing gasoline is the surest way to keep gasoline good for longer periods of time. You can also completely seal the container, cutting off any oxygen from entering.

Car Bible’s Glossary for Gasoline

Welcome to Bibles School!

Octane

Octane refers to the performance of specific gasoline. The higher the octane, the more compression the gasoline can handle during combustion.

Premium Gasoline

Premium is gasoline with a higher octane rating.

Regular Gasoline

Regular is gasoline with a lower octane rating.

Diesel

Diesel is a type of fuel that doesn’t require a spark for ignition.

Additives

Additives are additional fluids that can be added to gasoline to increase longevity, increase octane, and clean fuel injectors, among other things.

Stabilizer

A fuel stabilizer is an additive that allows you to increase the fuel’s longevity.

Gas cans.
Gas cans.

Your Questions, Our Answers on Gas Longevity

Car Bibles’ answers all your burning questions!

Q. Is There a Difference Between Storing Gas In a Car or Gas Can?

A. Not really, no. Both are fairly well-sealed containers and will only last between 3-6 months before degradation occurs.

Q. Can You Use Old Gas?

A. Depending on how old it is, you may be able to, but it may not be as effective as it once was, leading to engine issues.

Q. Can You Mix Old Gas With New Gas?

A. You can, but you’ll reduce the effectiveness of the gas and that could lead to a mixture issues inside the engine.

Q.Is 2-Year-Old Gas Good?

A. No.

Video on Gas Longevity

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how long gas lasts. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored Gasoline Related Products

You can storage containers and tools for gas and gas-related jobs at almost every auto parts and home improvement store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. Our best recommendations are for these Diesel Additives, Fuel Injector Cleaners, and Fuel Stabilizes.

Disclosure: Carbibles.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Pages on this site may include affiliate links to Amazon and its affiliate sites on which the owner of this website will make a referral commission.

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