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Author Topic: Can gas be ruined by sitting out in sun/cold weather? Back to Topics
kylesmail333

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Akron

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 10:56:59 AM

If someone left a gas can outside in the heat back in August and it is still sitting outside and its November, is the gas still safe to use in a vehicle or will it hurt your engine? Basically does the change in temperature effect the gasoline to render it "bad" for use in a car?
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kiatoindos
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: May 13, 2013 1:04:53 PM

Sta-bil
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PithyOpiner
Champion Author Stockton

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Message Posted: May 13, 2013 12:40:50 PM

If that someone is your neighbor and you are thinking of stealing it thinking he won't notice, go for it. I'd do it .
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63pioneer
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: May 7, 2013 5:51:52 AM

If the lid was on tight and you added it to an almost full tank of gas, I think you might could get by it, but don't know about putting it in your lawn mower. Check with a small engine repair shop before you do!
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dvx4002004
Sophomore Author Medford

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Message Posted: May 7, 2013 3:18:41 AM

Yes
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giwan
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: May 7, 2013 12:19:25 AM

If its only a gallon or two and you mixed it with a almost full tank you will never notice.
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MertieMan
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: May 6, 2013 5:00:31 AM

I put Sta-bil into everything that has gas in it over the winter and it is fine. This stabilizes the gas.
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PaylessKY
Champion Author Kentucky

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Message Posted: May 6, 2013 1:05:27 AM

After grass cutting season I put the remaining fuel in my cars gas tank.

I did have a very littel amount of fuel in my mower from last year, and it still started with no problem this year before adding fresh fuel.
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xbAG
Champion Author California

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Message Posted: May 6, 2013 12:17:03 AM

I have no clue
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WEPSMAN
Champion Author South Dakota

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Message Posted: May 5, 2013 7:58:20 PM

It can, but it takes a while. I have gas for my small engines and if it sits too long, I throw it in my car to burn it off.
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olympusman2004
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: May 5, 2013 8:56:09 AM

no
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smugutu1234
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: May 5, 2013 8:44:11 AM

No
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Wanda127
Champion Author Florida

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 10:43:16 PM

If it sits anywhere too long it will go bad. That's why they have additives to keep it from going bad in your boats & RV's.
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zardoz74
Veteran Author Houston

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Message Posted: Apr 30, 2013 10:22:43 PM

I hope not.
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herbiepopnecker
Champion Author British Columbia

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Message Posted: Mar 1, 2013 11:12:43 PM

Yes the water comes out.
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sharansri
All-Star Author Seattle

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Message Posted: Mar 1, 2013 10:39:52 PM

yes
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Saab93turbo
All-Star Author Washington

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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 11:22:12 AM

Yes. Some compounds will evaporate, some will gel. It could be salvaged by mixing it with fresh gas so the bad gas is diluted with good.
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2Tall
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 9:08:07 AM

I'd mix, new/old
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sharansri
All-Star Author Seattle

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Message Posted: Jan 30, 2013 2:41:25 AM

not sure
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nichols
Champion Author Halifax

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Message Posted: Jan 29, 2013 12:53:22 PM

without stabilizer I would not use it
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frugalshopper
Veteran Author Syracuse

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 10:49:41 AM

Ethanol tends to break down. It is better to purchase fuel stabilizer if you plan to fill gas cans for the lawn mower and/or snow blower.
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Hanski
Champion Author Modesto

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 9:45:15 AM

not sure.
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OceanArcher
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 8:48:35 AM

Hmmm -- original posting was Nov 2012. Wonder if he ever got off his lazy butt and brought the can inside?
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MertieMan
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 5:15:30 AM

If it is sealed and some Sta-bil put into it, most likely it will be okay.
I put this in all of my small engines over the winter.
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TXBruin
Champion Author San Antonio

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 6:21:31 PM

yes
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BUSSY
Champion Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Nov 28, 2012 4:46:16 PM

I have no clue.
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WEPSMAN
Champion Author South Dakota

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 9:32:05 AM

Depends on the amount you have. You should be able to mix it with "fresh" gasoline and be just fine.
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twt
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 8:13:27 AM

It could get condensation in it, depending on the weather.
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MertieMan
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Nov 27, 2012 5:33:37 AM

It would probably run in a vehicle if no water got into it. You can save gas for a long period if you put Sta-bil stabilizer into it.
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OceanArcher
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:22:53 PM

I'd mix it 50/50 with fresh gas, and go for it ....
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herbiepopnecker
Champion Author British Columbia

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 9:19:17 PM

When exposed to bacteria in the air it turns into cheese.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 8:51:45 PM

fenster66 wrote:
"if the gas was in a 5 gallon gas can with a cap, and is in a closed space (garage) for a week or two, would there be any problems using it?"

That would be no different than if it sat in your parked car while you were away for a week or two. No; there would be no problems using it.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 8:51:42 PM

fenster66 wrote:
"if the gas was in a 5 gallon gas can with a cap, and is in a closed space (garage) for a week or two, would there be any problems using it?"

That would be no different than if it sat in your parked car while you were away for a week or two. No; there would be no problems using it.
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allnighter
Rookie Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 5:40:19 PM

It's fine to leave gas in a can, inside or outside for up to 3 months. After that it is still safe to use, it will just be less effective because it begins to lose octane as the chemical chains start to break down.
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fenster66
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 4:59:29 PM

if the gas was in a 5 gallon gas can with a cap, and is in a closed space (garage) for a week or two, would there be any problems using it?
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Seekingone
Champion Author Louisville

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 4:11:35 PM

yes
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 3:23:47 PM

You didn't say the size of the can the lawn crew left out but I assume it's probably a one or two gallon can, at most a five gallon can (and not a drum). If that's all it is, one or two gallons, and you're unsure of the quality in any way, simply (properly) dispose of it; the lost is negligible, if for no reason other than you didn't pay for it.

But to somewhat answer your question, by simply "sitting out", gas won't be "ruined" as much as it can go stale. And, it's safe to assume that not stabilize was added to the fuel. So, to answer the question of what makes gas go stale, usually the first thing that happens is the lighter chemicals in it evaporate, leaving behind a heavier, less peppy product. Gasoline is an ideal motor vehicle fuel partly because it vaporizes readily to form a combustible mix with air. If it sits unused, however, its more volatile components waft away, leading to poorer engine performance. It's hard to tell how much punch your gas has lost without scientific testing, however, though your car might start a little harder, it'll still run (assuming your car ran without problem before), and there's little risk in burning the fuel if this is all that's gone wrong.

The second cause of bad gas is oxidation — some of the hydrocarbons in the fuel react with oxygen to produce new compounds, almost all worse than what you started with. When oxidation becomes a problem, you'll know it without lab tests — the gasoline gives off a sour odor. If you pour some into a glass container, you'll see it's turned dark, and you might find small, solid particles of gum. Using oxidized gasoline is a bad idea as the gum can clog your fuel filter, create deposits in your fuel system (especially the injectors), and generally reduce performance.

Third, there's the potential of contamination. Water, which can cause gas-line freezing or other problems, is the main culprit — it usually gets into stored gas via condensation as temperatures fluctuate. If the gas is relatively fresh, a "fuel dryer" additive (basically isopropyl alcohol) can help by combining with the water to make a burnable mix that can be run through the system. Another potential problem caused by water is bacteria, although that's not nearly as common. Gas contaminated with dirt or rust is a no go, as the crud will foul your engine, but you would almost certainly see that if/when you poured the gas from one container to another.

The bottom line is that there may be some changes to the quality of the gas in the time it's been left out, but if you absolutely don't want to waste the gas, you can simply mix it in small portions, blending your "old gas" with fresher gas in your fuel tank. Even mixing a five gallon can of "old gas" with an otherwise nearly full tank should still not result in any problems. But if you're in any way uncomfortable with using the "old gas", and I assume you are otherwise you wouldn't ask the question, don't use it. While you won't benefit from not buying a gallor or two or five of fresh gasoline, you'll have peace of mind. And you can't pay enough for that.

Does that answer your question?

And, as long as you're asking questions, let me make one small suggestion. Post gas prices. Just a little more frequently. it won't help me but it it will help your fellow Akron Gas Buddy members be more knowledgeable shoppers, just as their gas price posting can help you be a more knowledgeable shopper. But that's just a suggestion.The push for reformulated gaso
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kylesmail333
Rookie Author Akron

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 11:17:17 AM

Okay thanks. My landlords lawn crew left the can out and no one has touched it since. So I might just have to do something with it.
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MIT05
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Nov 26, 2012 11:06:46 AM

If the gas can was sealed properly you should be fine.
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