Author Topic: Gasoline Storage  (Read 6949 times)

Offline Woody Borghini

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Gasoline Storage
« on: February 15, 2011, 12:18:17 AM »
Hi there.

I search the forum, and found lots of good information about fuel storage, but not the info I was looking for.

Please help me with any of the following:
• I have 2 5-gallon cans of gas chained in the bed of my truck
• I have about 4 cans (~12 gallons) stored in a shed
• I haven't rotated the truck cans for about 3 months, through the coldest of the Colorado winter, and the ones in the shed for even longer.

Can I still rotate them?
Should I check them for something?
When I first drove after filling the truck cans, I noticed a minor leak, but didn't do anything about it. I haven't noticed any more leakage, but should I be concerned?
The cans in the truck are regularly covered in snow, and kept in below freezing temperatures, but sometimes fluctuate to highs of about 55 in the winter. Is that okay?
What is the basic rule of thumb for rotation intervals, without added stabilizer?
How does high or low temperature affect the safety and efficiency of the gas?

Thanks for your help.

-Woody


Offline SWNH

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 11:07:57 AM »
Small quantities of gas goes bad ALOT faster than larger quantities. I've used 1yr old un-stabilized gas in the vehicles with no issues (stored in 5 gallon containers...gas was clean...no varnish floaties).

Keep in mind, cars/trucks of today can handle a wide range of gasoline qualities. It's the high-strung, tight tolerance engines like chainsaws that have issues with less-than-quality fuel.

What I do now is carry a bottle of Sta-bil Marine additive WITH me in the truck (marine version help keep ethanol-ed fuel from mucking up chainsaw fuel systems). Whenever I make a fuel run, I add it immediately while filling up the containers. That way *ALL* my fuel in containers are stabilized before I even get home and I don't have to worry about it.

IMO, I wouldn't worry about your fuel.

endurance

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 11:14:45 AM »
As long as the cans were in good order (not rusted on the inside and dry before filling), I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Using Sta-bil wouldn't hurt you in the future as a little insurance, but 3 months is nothing.  If you want to be extra conservative, only add five gallons to a half tank at a time rather than adding more fuel on an empty tank.  That way if the gas is a little off, it's less likely to cause as severe of problems compared to a full tank of bad gas.  Adding a bottle of Heat wouldn't hurt either.  Heat is just alcohol to gobble up and suspend the water in the gas.

I stabilize my stored fuel and try to rotate every six months.  That's probably a bit more than I need to, but a little caution never hurt anything.

Offline stayfrosty

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 06:04:23 PM »
Like the other posters said... your gas should be good. I had about 4 gallons stored on my deck (through the huge NoVa snowstorms last year) for almost 10 months with no Sta-bil in them and they worked fine in my car when I finally went to use it. Unless you are storing large amounts... simply pouring it into your gas tank, then refilling the can will suffice. Sta-bil is an extra layer of insurance... but probably unnecessary. 

frosty

Offline Woody Borghini

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 06:10:40 PM »
Cool. Thanks for all the advice, guys.

That is very helpful. Even though I will rotate it soon just to be safe, it puts me at ease knowing that it's not likely to make the engine explode.

-Woody


endurance

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 09:28:14 AM »
The handful of things that can happen with bad gas is:

Rust in the tank-  Usually clogs the fuel filter, which isn't the end of the world, but is a pain in the backside best avoided.

Water in the gas-  water is more dense than gas (roughly 7.1 pounds per gallon for gasoline vs. 8.3 pounds per gallon for water).  If it settles in your gas tank, your fuel lines fill with water and either freeze (preventing any fuel flow) or prevent your car from starting or running properly.  The prevention is a bottle of Heet, which is just alcohol which is like a magnet to water and absorbs it so it's held in suspended and burned without a problem.

Forms a laquer- Basically gums up and clogs fuel injectors, intake ports, etc.  Usually happens when gas is allowed to sit in the engine for months or years.  The general death of lawn mowers, snow blowers, old tractors, and chain saws.  Prevented by draining the carb and tank and/or using Sta-bil.  It can generally be cleaned out with a good fuel system additive like BG-44k. 

Blows engine up- Never seen it happen, not really likely to happen.

Offline emptymag

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 10:07:11 AM »
Here's something I've never seen on this forum before, but a handy tip:

Avgas lasts for YEARS.  Now a downside is that it contains lead.  100LL ("Low Lead") contains a ton of it so don't run it in something with a catalytic converter.

But for someone with old school machinery it's worth looking into.  Many smaller airports will allow you to purchase it for non-highway use.  Common customers are race cars and off road machinery like quads, dirt bikes, etc.

I noticed when I first started flying that the gas smelled totally different.  It smells more like model airplane glue.  During preflight inspection you draw samples from the low spots in the system so it's not unusual to spill it on your hands.  But unlike when you get lawn mower gas on your hands and you stink all day, the Avgas evaporates quickly and doesn't smell like anything.  Of course the soluble lead on your hands is a buzz kill of an idea but that's a different story.

Anyway, if I had to store gas for a long time I'd store avgas and not lose sleep.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2011, 10:03:48 PM »
Something else to consider when storing gasoline.

Quote
Another misconception that some have is that they can save money by buying cheap gas in the winter and storing it for the summer. Remember that winter gasoline will pressure up as the weather heats up, and the contained butane will start to vaporize out of the mix. You will end up with less gasoline than you paid for, and you will be contributing to the air pollution problem that summer gasoline was designed to avoid. If, on the other hand, you were to buy summer gasoline and try to store it until winter, you might find yourself having problems getting the fuel to ignite, due to the lower vapor pressure. This would be like putting a little bit of diesel in your gasoline – not very good for your car. So buy and use gasoline in the correct season.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2374

I constantly rotate my gasoline store, so it is not an issue for me. Summer gasoline is used anywhere the temperatures consistantly reach 100*F, like where I live.

endurance

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2011, 11:28:34 PM »
Tex, there's some things in that quote that concern me.  While it has been a few years since my college chemistry, my recollection is that the fewer hydrocarbon chains on a molecule, the lower the boiling point.  Octane has eight, hexane six, pentane five, and so forth.  Well, the boiling point of pentane is 75 degrees, which is why most of it is burned off at the stack except in northern refineries.  Butane has two chains, so the boiling point is somewhere below zero.  If not, your lighter would spray liquid fuel at room temperature.

While I don't argue theres some difference in summer and winter formulas, I don't think butane is ever a component of gasoline. 

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2011, 12:09:19 AM »
...I don't think butane is ever a component of gasoline.  
Hi again.

The quote is probably refering to methyl tertiary butyl ether. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_tert-butyl_ether

You may remember the butyl part is "a four-carbon alkyl radical or substituent group with general chemical formula  -C4H9, derived from either of the two isomers of butane." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butyl

I think Mr. Rapier may have been trying to use a word many people would recognize and avoid long, scary, technical names for folks like me who have done their best to forget as much about college organic chemistry as humanly possible.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 12:19:22 AM by TexDaddy »

Offline Slomad

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2011, 03:08:34 AM »
I've found that adding Seafoam to gas that's going to sit a while works wonders. I use it in my motorcycle over the winter, and in a couple generators year-round that only get run every 6 weeks or so.

endurance

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2011, 07:46:34 AM »
Hi again.

The quote is probably refering to methyl tertiary butyl ether. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_tert-butyl_ether

You may remember the butyl part is "a four-carbon alkyl radical or substituent group with general chemical formula  -C4H9, derived from either of the two isomers of butane." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butyl

I think Mr. Rapier may have been trying to use a word many people would recognize and avoid long, scary, technical names for folks like me who have done their best to forget as much about college organic chemistry as humanly possible.  ;)
The problem with that is that the EPA is or already has phased out MTBE because it's nearly impossible to remove from the water table when USTs leak.  I know it's been banned in Colorado for years and replaced with ethanol to 'help air quality'. 

I'm perfectly willing to admit that I'm not an expert, but it just doesn't feel right to me.  Besides, I'm not storing some huge volume of gasoline to save money, I'm storing 15 or so gallons for convenience (closest gas station is an out of the way 20 minute round trip) and for emergency power for my generator.  I know I'm saving more money by having gas safely stored on my property than having to take a 20 minute trip everytime I want to run my chainsaw or snowblower (I know, I know, you don't even know what that last word is ;)).

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2011, 03:33:49 PM »
Hi endurance,

I don't know all the facts either. Thats for sure. There is some difference between winter and summer fuel for some reason. I only store 18 gallons of fuel for a stop gap type deal such as you described. Everytime, before I buy gas, I empty the oldest 5 gal. container into the truck and refill that container when I refill the truck so the whole thing is no big deal to me.

Mostly, I am just suggesting there may be a reason to rotate out you gasoline, not just stablize it and use it only when you need it.

I get the impression some folks here store a lot.

Just to stir the pot, so to speak, another quote from the same site, different article:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5858

Quote
A typical summer gasoline blend might consist of 40% FCC gas, 25% straight run gas, 15% alkylate, 18% reformate, and 2% butane. The RVP of the gasoline blend depends on how much of each component is in the blend, and what the RVP is of each component. Butane is a relatively inexpensive ingredient in gasoline, but it has the highest vapor pressure at around 52 psi.

Later in the article, it is indicated there is more butane in winter fuel because butane is cheap, and this is the main factor in the cost difference between winter and summer gasoline.

(I am not a Petroleum Engineer nor have I ever portrayed one on TV  :D )

Offline Coffey

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2011, 07:19:12 PM »
When you folks store gas in plastic lawn mower style containers, do you have any concerns about pressure build up?

I store a 5 gallon plastic container for lawn mower, etc.  I would like to start a rotation of several containers but I assume leaving funnel spouts on the cans making an open container (as I do currently) would cause the fuel to go "stale" quicker.  Or is this a non-concern due to the quick turn around of a regular rotation.

I assume metal jerry cans would have a similar issue, although stronger.  I don't have any, they are too expensive.

I am sure I am over thinking this, just looking for opinions.

Thanks for listening (or reading).

Coffey












Offline CaptainRW

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2011, 06:20:39 PM »
IMHO what you want to run the gas in matters as well, newer cars are more fussy them older ones. I have had & used gas that was stored 5-7 years with nothing added to it and it ran just fine in my 63 CJ-5 JEEP.











[/quote]

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2011, 07:03:09 PM »
When you folks store gas in plastic lawn mower style containers, do you have any concerns about pressure build up?

I store a 5 gallon plastic container for lawn mower, etc.  I would like to start a rotation of several containers but I assume leaving funnel spouts on the cans making an open container (as I do currently) would cause the fuel to go "stale" quicker.  Or is this a non-concern due to the quick turn around of a regular rotation...
I also use 5 gallon plastic containers. If I fill them in the early morning, when it then gets over 100*F later in the day, the containers certainly bloat. If I fill them when it is hot, then when it cools off, they look squashed. I haven't had any problems with any of them and I have been doing this for sometime.

So far as the open container situation you mention, I would have 2 concerns with this. Gasoline evaporates fairly quickly and I wouldn't want to end up with too much less than I paid for.

My second and greater concern would be the potential for fumes building up in where ever they are stored and setting up a possible explosive situation. I always have and do close my gasoline containers after each use.

Offline inthego

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2011, 06:59:57 PM »
I rotate my gas based on the following : 1)type of container used. metal or plastic. 2)what time of year the gas was bought. in other words does it have ethanol added.  3) Is STA-BIL used.

The longest rotated fuel is 5 gal. Metal containers, no ethanol added and STA-BIL added - 2 years.
Next
5 gal plastic container, no ethanol added and STA-BIL added  - 1 1/2 years
Then
5 gal plastic container, no ethanol added no STA-BIL added  - 1 year
Next
5 gal plastic container, ethanol added no STA-BIL  - 6 Months
Last
1 gal plastic container, ethanol added, no STA-BIL  - monthly

Also http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_should_you_smell_chemicals]carefully - [url]http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_should_you_smell_chemicals[/url] smell the gas (remember chemistry in High School folks) to see if I smells like well.. gas. If it smells like varnish paint thinner or the like don't put it into your car.  re-purpose it else ware.


Offline Blu

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2011, 04:08:52 PM »
When you folks store gas in plastic lawn mower style containers, do you have any concerns about pressure build up?

I rotate my plastic 5 gal. jugs out ever 6 months with out stabil.  They stay in a shed that gets pretty hot during the summer.  I use them in my 2008 GMC with no problems, I do notice that when I open them I get the "whoosh" shound, and that is with the new style containers.  I do not have any smells of fuel in the shed. 

Offline BeachPete

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2011, 07:52:27 AM »
Good thread, I've always been concerned about that.  I've got several of the plastic 5 gal jugs and have them numbered 1-5 (or how ever many you have).  I then rotate them based on the jug that's the oldest.  Having them numbered, I know that if I'm using jug 2 now, jug 3 is the oldest and that's the one I'll use next. 

I'll dump two of the jugs in my car every few months and then refill them with fresh gas and stabil.  I've never had a problem with gas that was up to a year old with ethanol and Stabil.  I also store this in our garden shed that fluctuates between freezing in the winter and pushing 100 in the summer.

I think I'll pick up one or two more jugs since I always want to have enough that I can fill up both mine and my wife's car at any time.

Offline rexbo

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Re: Gasoline Storage
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2011, 06:31:17 PM »
I just picked a bottle of this to try. Looks good if you need to salvage some ethanol tainted gas.

Star brite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment

Product Description
Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment uses unique enzyme technology to improve overall fuel quality. Star Tron Gasoline Formula makes engines start easily and run smooth. It “cures & prevents” Ethanol fuel problems such as water in fuel, or lost power. It also helps prevent phase separation, removes gums, varnish and carbon deposits and will stabilize gasoline for up to 1 year. It works in boats, cars, motorcycles, small equipment or any other 2 or 4-cycle engine.

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