How Long Is Gasoline Good For (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6 Months

Many commodities are necessary for everyday life and one of them is certainly vehicles. Yet, the work doesn’t end when one buys a vehicle. It is absolutely important to maintain the car by filling them with the right fuel and driving them up to services. Just like humans, even cars need regular checkups. One of the main things every vehicle owner must keep tabs on is the oil and gas level and how often they are filled and change.

One fuel that is used in many places includes gasoline, which can be used in lawnmowers and cars. While some products do not have any sort of expiration dates, some do. There are many myths that fuels like gasoline can’t expire, yet studies show they can. There is a shelf life even for gasoline. The time gasoline takes to expire is based on various factors like the components with which it is made, the manufacturing date, where it is placed, and much more.

Facts show that gasoline can last for about 3 to 6 months if properly stored. There are many reasons why gasoline gets expired before the expiry date and ways to identify expired gasoline.

How Long Is Gasoline Good For?

TypeTime
Properly stored gasoline6 months
Ethanol-blended gas3 months
Pure gasoline 6 months

To answer, one of the most commonly asked questions, gasoline can go bad. There is no exact rule about when it will get expired. Some of the most common factors on which why gasoline can go bad are based on the level of ethanol they contain, where they are stored if fuel stabilizers are added, and many more. Normally, when gasoline is stored in good conditions, it can last for about three to six months. When fuel stabilizers are added, they can last for a little longer on the shelf.

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On the other hand, the gasoline in a car’s tank can start degrading in about a month, and so it is necessary to change the gasoline in the car every one month. While crude oil lasts for more than a year, gasoline only lasts for about half a year, and that is because crude oil contains completely different ingredients. Gasoline is made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms which will start creating combustive hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons will help the engines run.

The petroleum is refined to remove additives like sulfur and additives like ethanol is added. At the end of this entire process, an amalgamation of the mixture of compounds will work together and help the vehicle function.

Why Is Gasoline Good For That Long?

There are three major factors upon which degradation depends. The main three are oxidation, water, and evaporation. Oxidation occurs when the oxygen molecules in the gasoline start tapping the O2 molecules in the hydrocarbons and start changing the structure, which will lead to oxidation. The level of ethanol also plays a great role, where if ethanol level is higher, the gasoline gets expired sooner. More evaporation leads to more oxidation and while lighter hydrocarbons evaporate sooner, heavier ones stay a while longer.

The sooner it evaporates, the sooner oxidation, and expiration of the gasoline occurs. Most of the gasoline manufactured across the world contain about 10% of ethanol and the water molecules are attracted towards this. This will oxidize the gasoline sooner. There are multiple reasons why expired gasoline should not be used. When expired gasoline is used to fill the tank, it becomes solid sooner and forms a jelly-like substance.

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Conclusion

When this gunky substance enters the engines of the vehicle, and this will clog the lines and start wreaking havoc. It is a must to use good gasoline so that the vehicle is maintained and this also saves money. There are many ways to identify if gasoline is expired. The gasoline will look darker and start smelling sour and bad.

There are some ways to make gasoline last longer and give it good shelf life. The gasoline must be stored in a clean and air-tight container, in a cool or room temperature environment. It is also necessary to avoid gasoline with high levels of ethanol, specifically if the vehicle is not used often. Also, adding a fuel stabilizer will prolong the shelf life.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016236112004565
  2. https://ngwa.confex.com/ngwa/archive/webprogramarchives/Session13461.html
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