In the know: Does fuel expire?

Fuel station

With pump prices going up and down, some car owners resort to storing fuel. And while storing fuel can help you avoid the hassles of filling up at a crowded gas station or the erratic changes in fuel prices, the quality of gasoline and diesel can become poor over time which could cause poor engine performance.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How long can you store fuel?

    Fuels have a shelf life of three to six months.
  • What can you do to improve your fuel's lifespan?

    You can use stabilizers and use proper containers to store fuel.
  • Today, we look at how long can you store fuel before they "go stale" and what you can do to improve its lifespan.

    fuel pump

    Shelf life

    According to experts, fuel — when stored properly — has a shelf life of about six months. Other factors, like heat, can also affect the shelf life of your fuel.

    Generally, gasoline will go stale faster than diesel. The octane in gasoline degrades over time with high-octane fuel losing potency in as fast as three months while low-octane fuel lasts for about six.

    Meanwhile, diesel tends to hold its efficacy better thanks to it being less refined and a tad bit more oily than gasoline.

    Stabilizers

    Those looking to improve the shelf life of stored fuel can use chemical stabilizers to faithfully preserve the quality of their fuel.

    There are various fuel stabilizer products sold locally and one can buy a stabilizer from automotive shops or, like how most people shop nowadays, through online channels.

    Containers

    When storing fuel, it’s important to use proper containers to preserve its lifespan. As we’ve briefly covered above, fuel can go stale in a span of three to six months.

    Fuel powers the engine by way of combustion. Combustion, especially with gasoline, is facilitated by flammable components in the fuel which can escape should you store it in a container that’s not tightly sealed.

    That said, it’s imperative that you use the correct container for storing fuel.

    Using stale fuel

    As we’ve mentioned earlier, using stale fuel can cause several performance issues with your vehicle. Driving with old fuel can cause anything from stalling to more serious problems like deposit buildups from impurities that eventually clog up internal components of the engine.

    Final thoughts

    Now that we know that fuels can go bad, it’s best to plan when to store fuel and when to use it. It’s also a good idea to use stabilizers and the proper storage containers when storing fuel to improve its shelf life, on top of following the safety regulations, when keeping gasoline and diesel at home.

    Photos from Ruben Manahan

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