As Winter comes to an end and we begin preparing for outdoor activities, it becomes necessary to refresh our gasoline supply for use in our power equipment.
Stored gasoline has a greater chance of contamination if it has been more than a couple of months since you purchased it. Old gas is a major issue in the spring, when we first crank up the lawn equipment. It was running just fine last fall, but now, it won’t start!
Most of us blame the equipment. We go out and buy a new spark plug, air filter and some carburetor spray. It’s good to replace those items once a season, but if the gas was a little fresher, the mower probably would have started.
There are several factors to consider when gasoline storage is concerned.
Who will perform necessary repairs on contaminated equipment? Repair centers charge $60 to $150 per hour for their labor. If you can do the repairs yourself, you will save time and money. Preventative maintenance is best done at home.
What type of equipment is the unit in question? Will it be used in an emergency situation? Those have to be ready at all times. Snow blowers, generators and chainsaws fall into this category.
When will it be used? Walk behind mowers and snow blowers have opposite seasons. Emergency generators need to always be at the ready.
Where is the equipment stored? An out building may not be as well insulated as a garage that's incorporated into a house. Some equipment is stored out in the elements where heat and cold extremes create havoc in the fuel system.
How can you avoid ethanol? In my area, the only places that claim to not have ethanol blended gas are airports and marinas. Those aren't on MY commute! Besides, ethanol-free gasoline should not be stored for very long either. Condensation will cause moisture problems in that gas, too.
Why take the chance? With the exception of instant-on emergency generators, I think it's best to store power equipment with no gas in the unit. A container of fuel can be made fresh to store with the equipment that is needed for the season.
That's right, I said "season". There are 4 seasons in a year. Gasoline should not be stored for more than 3 months. Ethanol causes gasoline to break down faster than it used to. Gas in the can needs to be emptied out before it goes bad. If you don't use it in your equipment, use it in a car or truck before it goes bad. That way you avoid disposal issues and gain benefit from the gas.
Sunshine puts more water in gasoline than rain does!
Store the gas can in a place where temperatures stay fairly constant. Keep it away from the sun. Condensation is the most common way for moisture to contaminate gasoline. Water is heavier than gas, so it ends up in the filter and float bowl of your carburetor.
Always add stabilizer to gas when you purchase it. Stabil can't fix old gas. It's a preventative that every engine manufacturer recommends for all gas, whether it's mixed for 2-cycle or not.
If the equipment will be used on a weekly basis, the gas is less likely to become a problem. However, if a unit will be stored for a month, drain it.
So, to summarize,
How do I dispose of Gasoline?
The key to avoiding gas problems is to limit the time that the fuel is stored. Empty your gas containers into your vehicle before the gas goes bad, or every 2 to 3 months. This will give you benefit of the fuel while avoiding any disposal method that will result in contamination of the environment.
Every time that the seasons change (Every 3 Months), I pour both of my storage vessels (Gasoline and Gas & Oil mix) into my car for disposal. I then purchase fresh gas to use in my equipment. This gives me benefit of the fuel and avoids contaminating the environment.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the aisles!