Occasionally, people stock hundreds of liters of gasoline using containers and handy tanks. After all, oil has been stored underground for millions of years, so why can’t fuel be stored for several years? However, this is a popular misconception.

Gasoline can deteriorate if the proper storage conditions are not met. Differences in temperature, humidity, and many other factors cause it to lose its properties.

This does not happen instantly, but every day of improper storage the efficiency of such fuel decreases significantly.

What Causes Gasoline Deterioration?

As a result of reasons listed below the lifespan of gasoline under ideal conditions does not exceed 5 years, and under negligence is only 1 year.

Considering such a significant difference in storage time, it is preferable to observe all factors. This will not only increase the storage time but also reduce the loss of fuel properties.

1. Evaporation

Gasoline contains a mass of easily evaporable elements needed to increase the octane number. If the fuel is not stored in an airtight container and the conditions are not kept at a proper temperature level, these substances will evaporate.

2. Oxidation

Fuel interacts with oxygen, which significantly reduces its quality. The use of oxidized gasoline leads to tar deposition in the car systems, as well as the formation of soot on candles and cylinders.

3. Decomposition Of Additives

Additives added to increase the octane number have a short life span, so they are destroyed during prolonged storage. Some additives break down as soon as 2 weeks after storage, so it is worth considering this factor.

4. Sedimentation

When gasoline stays motionless for a long time, fine particles settle down to the bottom, creating a concentrate. If such concentrated sediment enters the fuel system, it will negatively affect the fuel filter and may cause damage.

In What Container Should You Store Gasoline In?

The most ideal storage tank for gasoline is an airtight metal tank. Tank, drum, and other similar containers are suitable for this purpose.

When it comes to plastic tanks, they are not desirable. Gasoline may react with plastic, which will lead to loss of fuel properties and destruction of the container itself.

The second reason is the risk of sparks when filling the container. Plastic can accumulate a static charge, which can lead to ignition.

Note: Some special plastic containers which do not react with gasoline can be used, but not recommended

1. Special Tank Container

Picture By MC Containers

A special tank container is the best option, they will retain the fuel properties for 2 years. If you bury it in the ground, ensure the tightness of the lid, the environmental impact and temperature changes will be minimal, expanding the storage times for up to 5 years.

2. Steel, aluminum closed drum container

Steel, aluminum canister, or closed drum will retain fuel properties for up to a year. It is important to ensure the integrity of the rubber gasket on the lid, as this ensures tightness, minimizes the impact of external factors.

It may need to be changed periodically as the rubber will corrode. It is desirable that the canister has an inner protective coating for electrostatic safety.

3. Plastic (Gas Can)

Anything made out of plastic (Gas Can) is a less suitable choice. This material accelerates oxidation and accumulates static charge, which can potentially lead to a fire.

Normal plastic bottles are strictly prohibited, even for a short time

In What Conditions Should The Fuel Be Stored?

If you decide to store gasoline on your own, you should comply with all conditions. This will help to increase the period of its use up to 5 years, while in a jerrycan this period does not exceed 1 year. Therefore, the following factors should be considered during storage:

  • Fire Safety
  • Tank (metal, buried in the ground)
  • No Sunlight
  • Temperature  (maximum 30 degrees, optimal 15 degrees, minimum 10 degrees)
  • Tightness (close the lid securely, air availability should not exceed 5% of the tank volume).

How Long Can Gasoline Be Stored?

Storage time varies from 1 to 5 years. This depends on whether the above conditions are met. But in some cases, the period may be even shorter if the requirements are completely disregarded.

Note: There are a LOT of factors that play a role in the lifespan of your fuel, your fuel could last 5 months, or it could last 5 years. These are subjective values

  • Car Tank – up to 6 months
  • Jerrycan – up to 1 year
  • Drum container – up to 2 years
  • Tank container – up to 3 years
  • Tank +buried container – up to 5 years.

Non-compliance with temperature conditions can reduce storage time by 20-35%, and lack of tightness by 20%.

Note: Diesel fuel has a much longer storage life, which reaches 10 years.   

How To Tell If Fuel Has Gone Bad

There are multiple ways you can tell if fuel has gone bad. 

  • Changed Color – Gasoline tends to get darker as it ages. If the color has changed compared to the original that’s a sign that fuel went bad
  • Smell – If you detect a sour scent or it smells spoiled, it’s a sign that the gas has gone bad.

Can You Use Old Gas?

When gasoline loses its octane number, it also loses its properties, and therefore it’s quality.

Even if you have kept your fuel stored in perfect conditions, natural processes are inevitable and you cant keep your fuel forever. it will just not be as efficient as it used to be.