Does Gasoline Go Bad?

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BARRY ASKED: I received a call from my friend who was cleaning out his garage and came across an old can that had gasoline in it that was likely several years old and spoiled if gasoline spoils. How does he properly dispose of the gasoline and what should he do with the container?

WE FOUND THE ANSWER: It’s true. Gasoline does have an expiration date. Most ethanol-blend fuels have a shelf life of about three months, so chances are that your friend’s gasoline is definitely unusable… in his car that is.

This is because ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning that it will absorb water, and only about one tablespoon of water per gallon will contaminate it, causing it to separate. When it comes to your fuel tank, you should replace the gas in it every two to three weeks to avoid contamination.

But just because this gasoline is no longer usable for your friend’s car doesn’t mean that it still can’t be used as fuel in another capacity (such as burning for energy on an industrial level, which – I’m guessing – is not what he’s intending to do).

So, now what to do with the leftover fuel and container? These will need to be taken to your local household hazardous waste facility, where it can be processed safely. This is the same place that you take your unwanted paint or used motor oil (if you’re a DIY oil-changer that is). You can also take the container to the HHW facility. One thing is clear: Do not attempt to recycle the can/jug yourself. The easiest way to find the nearest HHW facility is to use Earth911′s recycling search.

Got a question for Barry? Ask us on Facebook or Twitter. If your question is picked for next week, we’ll send you a trendy Earth911 T-shirt for free.

Written by Amanda Wills

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