Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingFuel Systems How To Dispose Of Old Gas – Safely Dispose Bad Gasoline

How To Dispose Of Old Gas – Safely Dispose Bad Gasoline

by Jordan Harris
How To Dispose Of Old Gas

How to dispose of old gas? Many people are surprised to learn that gas may “go bad.” After a period, it becomes ineffective, at which point it is preferable to discard it. But if you weren’t aware that gas spoils, you might be even more shocked to learn that you can’t simply toss it in the garbage or pour it down the drain.

It must be disposed of securely for the environment and all living things. Therefore, if you want to get rid of fuel you no longer need, consider some advice on properly disposing of used gas.

Why Does Gasoline Degrade

In addition to a variety of chemical compounds, some of which are added to gasoline to prevent corrosion and keep the fuel stable, gasoline is largely composed of hydrocarbons, the parts of refined crude oil that provide a source of energy when burned in your engine.

But even with the helpful additives, gasoline will eventually evaporate and oxidize with time, turning into a sticky varnish that can clog the fuel system of an engine. This is what eventually forces you to figure out how to treat bad gas in your car.

Even if the gasoline is still in good condition, rust, dirt, and other impurities can get into the tank and eventually end up in your fuel filter, carburetor, or fuel injectors, slowing down or completely shutting down your engine.

Water and alcohol are two additional components that are frequently present in gasoline and are hard on fuel systems. Both of these components can result in corrosion inside engine parts.

Direct contact with water or moisture in the air causes water to be absorbed into the gasoline. Alcohol, on the other hand, is actually a fuel additive for old gas that, with time, can separate from gasoline.

The alcohol will be forced out of the gasoline if the amount of absorbed water is too great, and the two chemicals will settle at the bottom of your tank with a chance of being drawn into the fuel lines, where they could cause trouble.

Surprisingly, there’s a decent risk that fuel that’s been hanging around for a while will become contaminated with fungus or bacteria, especially if temperatures where the gasoline is stored change enough to result in a lot of condensation inside fuel tanks.

Gasoline Shelf Life

Because gasoline is volatile, it hardly qualifies as a liquid. If the container’s cap is not secure enough, the molecules in it will all attempt to break out and float freely in the air. Additionally, gasoline easily oxidizes, which means its molecules disintegrate when it comes into touch with certain other substances, such as oxygen.

This characteristic makes it extremely combustible and ideal for engines when fuel is oxidized quickly, a fire results, or, in a car engine, a sequence of small explosions that move the pistons.

You end up with a collection of molecules that are not quite the same as regular gasoline when gas slowly oxidizes, whether in a gas can or your garden shed. They might not operate your engine as well as they should, and occasionally they can clog gasoline lines.

Because of these factors, you can’t actually count on stored gasoline to survive indefinitely. When it’s properly preserved, three to six months is about the best you can expect for; if it’s in a can with a loose cap or has been exposed to heat, it might last even less time.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas

Check To See If Your Gas Is Old Enough To Be Used

Determining whether your gas is outdated should be your first step. You might be unsure of its usability if it has been sitting in your lawnmower for a few months. Pour a tiny amount into a transparent container to find out.

To compare the two, get a second clear container and fill it with brand-new gas. The older gas is probably no longer good if it smells somewhat sour or appears significantly darker than the fresh gas.

After instance, after a few months, gas tends to degrade to the point that it may not even be able to start your lawnmower, much less a car. However, if you fill it up with fresh gas, you might still be able to use it.

Take new gas, for instance, and fill the tank with it up to roughly three-fourths full before topping it up with old gas. If you do this, think about adding a fuel additive for old gas to enhance the quality of the gas. To find the ideal one, check out our list of the best fuel additive for your car.

However, occasionally the gas is too old to be used at all. Don’t put old gas in your tank if it shows any symptoms of rust or dirt. Avoid taking a chance with your gasoline system. Instead, you should concentrate on finding safe ways to get rid of the old gas.

How To Extend The Life Of Gas

Proper storage is the simplest technique to increase the gasoline shelf life. This entails storing gasoline in current plastic fuel cans, ensuring the cans are in good condition, and utilizing storage cans corresponding to the amount of fuel your power equipment would consume in less than a few weeks.

Keep the flammable gasoline away from your family and priceless possessions, and store the gas cans in a cool, dry location in a facility other than your home to reduce water condensation and fuel evaporation.

Gasoline shouldn’t be kept in vintage metal cans since they corrode and pollute the fuel. In addition, never use gas in unauthorized containers such as glass jars.

You can add a fuel stabilizer to fresh gasoline to extend its shelf life to a year or more if you have gas-powered equipment that sits unused for months, such as seasonal power equipment or recreational RVs.

These concentrated fuel additives, which are offered by businesses like Sta-bil, Star Tron, and Sea Foam, are designed to reduce water absorption and delay the chemical breakdown of the hydrocarbons in your gasoline. However, stabilizers cannot repair old gas; they can only aid in extending the life of fresh gas.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas

You can check the policies of your town, city, or county on their website to see whether they have any. To uncover more solutions, you may also Google something like “gasoline disposal near me.”

Follow their directions, but generally, you’ll need to take the following action:

  • Check to see that the fuel is in a permitted container.
  • You may be about to dispose of used paint cans or car batteries simultaneously, so call the garbage disposal facility in advance to find out their hours, policies, and what else they accept.
  • Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with getting a flammable substance off your hands without endangering the environment by dropping it off at the appropriate location using the specified procedures.

Symptoms Of Bad Gas In Car

The two most typical signs of poor gas in your fuel tank are performance concerns and a dashboard check engine light. You can have poor acceleration, an engine that stalls, or an engine that won’t start at all.

The most typical indications of bad gas in your car are listed in further detail below:

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Symptoms #1: The Check Engine Light

A dashboard light that alerts you to a problem with the car engine is probably present. You must take the chance that the gas is contaminated into account if the Check Engine Light turns on.

However, this light won’t be able to diagnose the issue independently.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Symptoms #2: Issues With Acceleration


When you press the gas pedal, the car should react immediately under typical circumstances. When it’s time to move, if there is any delay, there can be a problem, including a chance of having terrible gas. If the problem is bad gas, you can experience additional problems as the speed increases.

When the road conditions are bad, it’s also possible that the car stops accelerating altogether. Another possibility is that your speed is fluctuating erratically in one direction or the other. When you take your foot off the accelerator, you’ll see the RPMs adjust on their own.

Whether it’s faulty gas or the failure of an essential component, these irregular changes all point to a fuel problem. We’ve detailed some of the consequences of driving with bad gas in the fuel tank, such as answering whether can bad gas cause a misfire in the engine.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Symptoms #3: Stagnant Engine

If you are normally traveling when the engine suddenly stalls, you might want to think about the gasoline quality. Poor fuel can prevent combustion from taking place as it should. To burn correctly, the engine needs high-quality fuel combined with the right amount of air.

Without good gas, the engine’s demands grow too great, and it may eventually quit. This is what causes car stalling issues, or how your car dies while driving, or when your car dies while you’re idling (but it restarts, perhaps).

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Symptoms #4: The Engine Won’t Turn On

In the worst situation, the engine won’t even turn over. This can occur when you first try to start it or after it has stalled. The engine might not start if water, moisture, or other impurities combine with the gas. An automobile won’t start for a variety of reasons, though.

To ascertain what is going on, you must consider all of the symptoms together.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Symptoms #5: A Faulty Fuel Filter

A filter in the gasoline system keeps dirt, pollutants, and other impurities out of the engine. There is silt on the bottom of every gas tank. The filter’s job is to prevent any of this from reaching the motor, which would have terrible consequences.

It may be because of bad fuel if you need to replace the fuel filter too soon. Because of this, it’s crucial to monitor the filter’s condition and replace it as needed. So, if you notice the symptoms of a bad fuel filter (and the signs of a bad fuel filter), do consider an immediate fuel filter replacement.

Worst Thing To Put In A Gas Tank

It’s crucial to understand that anything other than fuel can harm your car’s engine, whether you have curious youngsters or you’re thinking about putting some sort of cleaning chemical in the gas tank.

However, other, different chemicals will harm you more severely and more quickly.

1. Water

You could believe that adding water to your gas tank wouldn’t result in any issues. It’s only water, after all, right? The fact is that water can utterly destroy an automobile’s engine. Your automobile may not be accelerating as swiftly or smoothly as it should if there is water in the gasoline tank.

This can be very dangerous, particularly if you lose acceleration abruptly on the road with high speeds. So, if you’re wondering why is my car not accelerating, or if your car hesitates when accelerating, this might be the reason why.

Water is risky because problems may not manifest right away. While driving, you can be completely oblivious that anything is wrong until your car might start to malfunction.

Additionally, water can rapidly detach the engine from the engine mount, which could result in an accident.

Your automobile’s engine could entirely shut down if water got into the cylinders, and it only takes a small bit of water to harm your car. Your car will not operate as it should, which is the biggest indication that water has been added to the fuel. Your car will be moving much more slowly than usual, and you won’t be able to accelerate smoothly.

2. Bleach

While bleach is excellent for cleaning around the house, it should never come in contact with your car’s gas tank. Bleach can be placed into a gas tank, and you might not notice any negative consequences right away.

However, if bleach is kept for a long time in your fuel tank, damage may result. A car engine’s rubber and aluminum can rust when exposed to bleach, a potent chemical. Also, because bleach contains a lot of water, you’ll see problems similar to those that arise when water is added to a gas tank.

When bleach is added to a fuel tank along with fuel, the engine gradually tries to run only on bleach. This can result in the car losing power and not operating as swiftly or smoothly as it could.

Bleach can cause serious corrosion in your car’s engine, which can be quite expensive to fix. You might have to pay for pricey part replacements if bleach is allowed to remain undiscovered in a motor engine.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

Another substance you should keep well away from your car’s gas tank is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide, which resembles nitrous oxide when coupled with fuel, can speed up the pace at which the mixture burns inside an engine.

The engine’s internal components may suffer harm if the gasoline burns too hotly, which can also make the engine overly hot. The hydrogen peroxide and gas mixture can temporarily increase your car’s speed and may resemble a nitrous oxide system.

However, hydrogen peroxide can quickly cause your engine to heat up beyond what is healthy, leading to engine damage from overheating. We highly caution against putting hydrogen peroxide in your car if you want to increase your speed.

The risks associated with hydrogen peroxide greatly outweigh any advantages of enhanced power and speed.

4. Soda

Your car’s engine can be destroyed by soda, such as Coke. Regular Coca-Cola contains a lot of sugar, plus this soda’s other constituents can seriously harm your car’s engine. When the soda’s sugar and other ingredients interact with the fuel in your gas tank, they turn into a sludge-like substance.

The sugar in Coke, which can clog the gasoline filter when it enters the gas tank, can also affect how well the automobile runs when it circulates around the engine. It’s a good sign that there may be soda blending with the gas in your tank if you notice that the exhaust fumes coming from your automobile don’t appear to be normal.

Particularly if your tank is full of fuel, a small bit of coke is unlikely to cause any obvious issues. The potential harm to your engine will rise as you add more coke to the fuel tank.

You might need to take your automobile to a mechanic after putting a carbonated beverage in the fuel tank so they can assess the damage, clean the intakes, and replace any damaged parts.

5. Regular Antifreeze

Although it may seem like a good idea to put antifreeze in your car’s petrol tank to keep the engine cool, you should never do this! Antifreeze should only be used in your car’s radiator; putting it in the petrol tank would result in unnecessary damage.

Regular antifreeze can circulate with the fuel around the engine and cause several issues if placed into the gas tank. When you try to start your car and when it is idle, you can notice that it splutters more.

Get a professional to drain your fuel tank as soon as you can if your vehicle has antifreeze since, as you drive, additional issues will start to occur. A specific type of gas-line antifreeze can be added to prevent any liquid from freezing inside the gas tank.

However, you can only use this type of antifreeze in your gasoline tank; conventional antifreeze should only be used in a car’s radiator.

Uses For Old Gasoline

Before discussing those concepts, it is important to remember that gasoline is very combustible and should never be used in ways other than those it was intended for.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Uses Of Bad Gas #1: Pour It On Weeds

Old gasoline works wonders to get rid of weeds. All you have to do is be certain that you don’t want anything else to sprout there. You won’t be able to grow anything there for a very long time after you pour gas on the earth. It most effectively prevents grass and weeds from growing through pavement, driveways, and sidewalk cracks.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Uses Of Bad Gas #2: Use It To Burn Brush

Burning brush is a necessary task from time to time, particularly if you live in a remote area. Burning damp or recently cut brush can be made considerably simpler with gas. Simply exercise extreme caution, and use as little petrol as possible.

While older gasoline doesn’t evaporate as quickly as new gasoline, it still emits volatile vapors, making lighting it risky.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Uses Of Bad Gas #3: Mixing Old Gas With New Gas

Combining old and new gas is one of the finest ways to use gas. Most engines should be able to use your new gas if you mix a little old gas with it.

Smaller engines appear to operate without issues on older gas blended in this manner. Some advice adds some old gas to your automobile after filling it up. I suggest avoiding it if you don’t really need to do it. You should be fine if you only use it in tiny engines.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Uses Of Bad Gas #4: Use It To Kill Ants

 If you reside in an area where fire ants are a problem, you know how challenging it can be to eradicate them. Most grains and poisons can be hit or miss, but old gas can quickly dispatch them. The fire ants should be eliminated by simply pouring some old gas into the nest.

Gasoline Spill In Garage

Here are some techniques for removing gasoline spill in the garage.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Spill Clean-Up #1: Make Use Of Kitty Litter

Gasoline spills can easily be cleaned up with cat litter. If you keep cars or other items in your garage, you should always have some on hand. Pour some kitty litter on the spill while it is still wet to help absorb it and make cleanup easier. Cover the spill thoroughly with kitty litter, then let it sit for a couple of hours before sweeping it up.

If you use cat litter that is made to absorb odors, this will also get rid of any aromas from the floor. Eliminate the initial spill with this method. However, if there are any persistent odors, they can be treated with regular dish soap (for more insight, check out our guide on can I use dish soap to wash my car).

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Spill Clean-Up #2: Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is also an effective way to clean up gasoline spills. It has a one-two punch in that it can eliminate odors and neutralize and absorb the gasoline spill.

Just enough baking soda should be added to a large basin to cover the spill. Then, keep adding water until a thick paste forms. Apply the paste, then wait until it is completely dried before moving on. You can whisk it up and discard it once it has dried. Just clean up any paste or leftover substance.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas, Spill Clean-Up #3: Apply A Disinfectant

You can always use a disinfecting floor cleaner if you’ve tried the aforementioned remedies, but the gasoline smell is still in your garage. To avoid the possibility of any chemicals reacting, just make sure you’ve cleaned up the actual gas leak before you do this (or a gas leak in your car).

A disinfecting floor cleaner with a pine scent is applied to a container of warm water. Scrub the soiled area with a vigorous brush and then wipe it with a damp cloth. The disinfectant should get rid of any leftover gasoline and its odor.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas

FAQs On How To Dispose Of Old Gas

How Long Does Gas Last

Diesel can last up to a year before it starts to deteriorate, whereas regular gasoline’s shelf life is of three to six months. However, ethanol with an organic base is more prone to oxidation and evaporation, which can cause it to lose its combustibility in as little as one to three months.

How To Dispose Of Gasoline

Never spill gasoline on the ground, septic tanks, or storm drains. Never put gasoline in ordinary trash or recycle it at home. Utilize your community’s household hazardous waste programs to dispose of gasoline. For additional information, get in touch with your county or local government.

Does Gasoline Go Bad

Never spill gasoline on the ground, into septic systems, or into storm drains. Gasoline should never be disposed of in typical home trash or recycling. Utilize your community’s household hazardous waste collection programs to dispose of gasoline. For more details, speak with your county or town government.

Does Gas Expire

If you purchase ordinary gasoline from your neighborhood gas station, you can count on it having a three to six month shelf life. It’s critical to keep in mind that, under ideal storage conditions, this is the normal shelf life. If you keep it in a shed or other uncontrolled environment, or if it contains ethanol, the shelf life could be considerably shorter.

How To Get Rid Of Gasoline Smell

Start by quickly absorbing the gas with clean or discarded towels. The smell can then be eliminated by mixing equal parts of hot water, white vinegar, and baking soda. Apply it with a clean rag, then take it off.

What To Do With Old Gas

To identify the nearest hazardous waste disposal facility or learn about specific collection occasions near you, get in touch with your county’s or city’s waste management agency. Keep in mind that you must deliver the gas to the location in an authorized container.

How To Use A Gas Can

To ensure that the can is electrically grounded, it must be placed on the ground rather than a truck bed with a plastic liner or carpeted floorboard. The fuel pump nozzle should be placed inside the gas can after unscrewing the cap. Gasoline should fill the gas can to 95% capacity. The gas can’s cap should be replaced. Verify that the cap is securely screwed on.

Where To Dispose Of Old Gas

Put the gas in a container that the government has approved. Call the waste management department of your county or city to locate a nearby disposal site. Use a designated disposal place to get rid of the defective fuel.

How To Rejuvenate Old Gasoline

An octane booster can be used after old fuel has been diluted with new gasoline at a one to four ratio. One part of older gasoline and four parts of new gasoline can be combined to dilute older fuel.

How To Dispose Of Gasoline At Home

Never spill gasoline on the ground, into septic tanks, or into storm drains. Never put gasoline in ordinary trash or recycle it at home. Utilize your community’s household hazardous waste programs to dispose of gasoline.

Does Gasoline Evaporate

Gas does evaporate, but the pace at which it does so varies. For instance, the air’s temperature and humidity can influence how rapidly gasoline evaporates. However, if gasoline is left out in the open, it will often evaporate within a few hours. Keep in mind that at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, gasoline vaporizes.

How Long Is Gas Good For In A Gas Can

Gasoline typically lasts 3 to 6 months when stored properly in a tightly sealed gas can or metal tank that your local fire department within the capacity limits advises. Even though it naturally deteriorates and loses flammability over time due to the oxidation and evaporation of its volatile compounds, it typically lasts this long.

How To Treat Bad Gas In Car

On the other hand, correcting defective gas is a lot simpler. If the gas is actually rotten and not merely old or waterlogged, you will need to syphon it out of your tank and pump new gas in. Don’t experiment with this because bad gas can hurt you even if it just seldom happens.

How Long Is Spilled Gas Flammable

For around 15 minutes following a spill, gasoline will still be flammable. However, the length of time will also depend on how much gas was spilled and what kind of surface it was. Gasoline will remain combustible as long as it still smells.

How To Tell If Gas Is Bad

Poor gasoline will have a darker or muddier appearance. It will also smell foul, unlike conventional fuel, which is another negative aspect. Some can even claim that the gasoline has a bad odor. The tank needs to be cleaned of the bad fuel in each of these cases.

Can You Mix Old Gas With New Gas

For the majority of vehicles, mixing old and new gas is typically not a problem. The two types of gas will mix when you add fresh fuel to a tank that already contains old fuel, and your car will still run on it. However, there may be a few minor points to bear in mind, such as the ratio of old to new gas and the actual age of the gas.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas: Final Verdict

How to dispose of old gas? Everything runs on gasoline, including machines and cars. Although many people depend on them to get around and accomplish their goals, the petroleum-based gasoline that powers them can pose a severe health, environmental, and fire risk if it is not handled and stored appropriately.

It’s crucial to only purchase the amount of gasoline you anticipate using before it starts to go bad or to take the required precautions to extend its shelf life, as gasoline also has a finite useful life. We’ll go through the key factors you need to consider so you can effectively and safely manage the fuel for all the gas-powered devices in your life.

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