How to Dispose of Old Gas

That old gasoline in your gas can (view on Amazon) has been there for an entire year. Or maybe that old car that will never run again is full of old gas and it’s time to get rid of it. Is the old gas still good? After a year, probably not. It’s time to throw out the old gas and refill that can with new gas. Dealing with any type of gasoline can be messy as well as dangerous. Find out how to dispose of that old gas properly to avoid unwanted results.

How Long Does Gas Last?

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Most people think that gasoline is recyclable or does not expire. However, that is not true. Gas loses its power over time and eventually becomes a pollutant that you don’t want near your engine. In fact, putting old gas from storage in your tank could void the warranty on your engine. It’s not that all old gas is bad, but why take a chance? Over time, gasoline loses many of its properties which will contaminate fuel. to include combustibility.

The degradation of unused gas happens over time, typically in about 3 to 6 months, due to natural forces. The compounds evaporate and the gas loses combustibility due to oxidation. If the gas is an ethanol-blended gas, it will last for around 3 moths, as ethanol oxidizes very quickly. Ethanol is also known to absorb moisture. If the gas is pure gasoline, it will last for around 6 months. The degradative processes occur much faster in ethanol-based gas. Most gasoline is sold with about 10% of an ethanol blend.

Certain other controllable factors influence the shelf life of stored gas. The original quality of the gas is a major factor in its shelf life. Also, if the gas is stored properly in moderate temperatures, it will last for about 6 months before it should be discarded. Some recommend adding a stabilizer. Fuel-stabilized gas is the exception to how long gasoline can be stored. Fuel-stabilizers are additives mixed with the gas to extend its shelf life. The fuel-stabilizer is petroleum-based and delays the natural processes of degradation.

Disposal methods vary based upon how much old gas you’ve got. If you’ve got more than a few gallons of old gas, you should contact the fire department or other pertinent agency to find about disposal opportunities. If all you’ve got is a few gallons of old gas, (there’s usually a limit to how much you can keep at home), the money you spend on stabilizers can go to some new gas. Some even suggest freshening the old gas up with some new gas. If you do that, you will be stuck with all subpar gas. At any rate, you should avoid mixing something old with something new. However, if the gas is in a car you rarely drive, a car you plan to store for a long time, or a car that needs repair and you hope to get back on the road someday, it would be worth your while to add the fuel stabilizers.

Identify Old Gas

How can you know for sure that the gas should be disposed of? You don’t want to throw it out if it still has a little bit of life left in it. If you are not sure, pour some of the gas into a clear glass jar. Swirl the gas around in the jar and look at its quality. Stop swirling the jar and look for any sediment settling down in the bottom of the jar. Gently smell the gas and see if you notice any foul odor. Observe the color to see if it is darker than usual. If you notice any of these problems, it is better to discard the gas. If you have a large amount of old gas on your property, you must dispose of it as there are legal limits to how much gas you can have at your home.

Containing Old Gas

Whether you’re storing old gas or about to throw it out, it should be contained properly. The cap or cover for the container should be tightly sealed. Although the old gas degrades, it does not mean that it will no longer ignite. Gas is one of the most effect accelerants for starting a fire. If the gas is not stored properly or discarded in the wrong place, it can certainly cause damage. Aside for that type of damage, there are the fumes you have to deal with while handling the gas. A big health risk associated with dealing with gas is the excessive inhalation of gas fumes. Gas fumes are extremely harmful, explosive, and can cause sickness or permanent damage to certain organs. Inhaling too many gas fumes causes dizziness and even death by carbon monoxide poison. The fumes are also no good for the eyes. In other words, old gas must be handled and discarded with extreme care.

When discarding old gas, it should be discarded inside a container. Also, you can’t just go pour it out somewhere. Usually, plastic or metal gas cans are available in local stores. Use a can that has been approved for storing strong liquids such as gas. Place the old gas in a safe container. Most regions have designated areas for discarding certain materials. The fire department or the municipal waste management office can tell you where you can and cannot discard of the old gas. When you have found a legal site to dump the gas, transport it to the site in a safe container with a tight seal. Be sure to place the container inside the provided receptacle and not around it. Clean up any gasoline spills that may have occurred.

Disposal of Old Gas in a Vehicle

Some gear heads may have several cars lying about, full of gas, and don’t even work. If a vehicle no longer runs and will be sitting up for a long time, it’s best to remove the gas. It could also be that someone is going to put a car in storage for a long time. Regardless of the reason, the gas must be siphoned out of the fuel tank first. A very popular method of removing gas from a vehicle is by siphoning the gas with a hose Siphoning is the process of suctioning a material. In this case, air pressure from the gas tank pushed the liquid downward into the gas container. The process is accomplished with the chain of gas flow unbroken while it is traveling from the fuel tank to a receiving container.

Siphoning poisonous liquids is also a very dangerous method as it poses the risk of swallowing the gas. The gasoline is immediately damaging when ingested. Yet, there are siphoning kits available if you can afford one. The kit allows you to siphon the old gas without using your mouth. Here are the steps to siphon the gas out of a fuel tank without the kit. If all you have is the hose and a gas can, you can use this method. Follow these steps:

  1. Gather the safety materials and tools: goggles, gloves, long sleeves and long trousers, a short hose , a cloth, and a gas can.
  2. If you can move it, park the car in a clean place.
  3. Shut the car off and pull the emergency brake.
  4. Put on your goggles and gloves. Make sure your clothing covers your skin. Do not let the gas come in contact with your skin.
  5. Put the gas can under the gas tank cover lid.
  6. Insert the funnel into the gas can.
  7. Open the gas cover lid and remove the fuel cap.
  8. Insert one end of the hose into the neck of the gas tank. If your hose is stiff, you should be able to bypass the opening. If not, you may need to use a small stick or a screwdriver to push the flaps back so that you can insert the hose.
  9. Keep the hose and container below the level of the fuel tank so the air pressure inside the gas tank will push the gas down into the gas can.
  10. Suction the one end of the tube until you taste fuel. Once you’ve tasted gas, take your mouth off the hose. If you are using a clear hose, you can see the gas approach.
  11. When the fuel has begun to flow through the tube, place your end of the hose into the gas can.
  12. Let the fuel flow into the can until the volume has reached 3/4 full. Don’t let the fuel overflow out of the can.
  13. Kink your end of the hose. Then raise it up to send the pressure back into the tank.
  14. Remove the hose from the neck of the can.
  15. Replace the gas cap.
  16. Clean up any gas that may have spilled.

Once you’ve got your old gas packaged up, it’s time to find out where you can take. Do not throw the old gas in the trash.

Where Can You Dispose of Old Gas?

Gasoline should never be discarded in a trash can, local bodies of water, or public sites. When this rule is broken, it leaves a negative footprint on the environment. Once the gas becomes old, it becomes a contaminant, a pollutant. Also, gasoline is flammable and will ignite with only the smallest amounts of flame or heat. Depending on the environment, just the gas fumes alone could cause a fire. Cigarette smoke or other small forms of open flame are enough to ignite the gas fumes.

When you are ready to dispose of the gas, you may be able to take to a hazardous waste materials site in your town. There may also be a recycling center that accepts flammable liquids. These types of facilities may have limits to the amount of waste you can bring in one day. The operating hours may be limited and the facility may even charge you for dropping it off. Some auto repair garages may even accept limited amounts of the flammable fluid. These are the types of things you should ask about before moving your gas. You should find out everything you need to know about the waste center and make arrangements to drop off the old gas at one of those types of centers before you begin to remove the gas. If you have a large amount of old gas, get someone to lend you a hand.

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Play It Safe

Remember, it is illegal to dump old gas in trash cans or dumpsters. You can be fined for breaking this law. Take the time to pack the old gas up and dispose of it properly. That is doing your part to keep our environment clean and safe.