How to Dispose of Old Gasoline
Whether that jerry can in your garage was meant for the lawnmower or an older car, it won’t last forever. If you have gas on your property that’s been sitting out for months, it may be time to get new fuel. But what should you do with all that old gasoline you have lying around?
It can be a pain to figure out what to do with your old gasoline. Whether you dispose of it yourself or with the help of professionals, it can be a rather confusing process. First, we’ll discuss how to know when your gas has gone bad. Then we’ll give you the best way to dispose of your gasoline safely while also protecting your local environment.
Why Do I Need to Dispose of Old Gasoline?
Old gasoline isn’t any more toxic than fresh gas, so why do you need to get rid of it? When gasoline ages, it loses its combustibility. That means your engine’s spark plugs and other components need to work harder to produce the same amount of energy. Essentially, the older the gas is, the less efficient it is in your car or other gas-powered product.
How to Tell if Gasoline is Too Old to Use
Gasoline usually has a shelf life of around three to six months and never longer than a year. To tell if your gasoline has gone bad, you’ll need two clear glass containers, your old gas, and a small amount of new gas.
Pour the new gas into one of the glass containers and the old gas into the other. The new gas is your control. If your old gas looks and smells like the new gas, you don’t need to worry about disposing of your old gasoline. If the old gas has a darker tone or a sour smell, it has most likely gone bad.
Can I Save Any of My Old Gas?
Depending on how old your gasoline is, you may be able to save some of it for use. Reusing your older gasoline is the single best way to dispose of it safely. It’s the safest way to dispose of the gas because the most hazardous product, the liquid petroleum, has gone through combustion, leaving only the air particulates.
To save some of your old gasoline, you’ll need to strain it. To do this, pour the old gasoline through a coffee filter. Any solid parts that the gas formed will get caught in the filter, removing the impurities.
Next, you’ll need to mix the old gasoline with new gasoline. In your newly mixed gasoline, the old gas should never make up more than 50% of the total volume. I usually prefer using a mix of 30% old gas and 70% new gas to ensure my engine won’t have to work so hard.
You can also add fuel additives that may help with the combustion process. These products help the spark plugs ignite the gas in the combustion chambers. If your mix of old and new gasoline doesn’t seem to be firing, adding a fuel additive might do the trick.
Why Can’t I Just Dump Old Gas on the Ground?
Gas and other fluids leak out of engines all the time, so why is it essential that you dispose of your old gallon of gasoline properly? Gas and other petroleum products are extremely damaging, both to humans and our environment. By disposing of your old gasoline unsafely, you are potentially exposing your family and community to toxic chemicals.
The main reason you can’t dispose of old gasoline just anywhere is because of the potential for the gas to seep into the ground and disrupt the water table. Although a pint of two won’t have such damaging effects, it can still cause local damage, like dead fauna and sick wildlife.
If you dump gallons of old gasoline on the ground, it has the potential to seep into your water supply, especially if your home operates with a well rather than off the municipal water supply.
When gas seeps into the water supply, it can take thousands of dollars and years to recover from the damage. To avoid these negative outcomes, always safely dispose of your old gasoline by either using it as engine fuel or taking it to a government-mandated disposal center.
How to Dispose of Old Gasoline Safely
Other than using your old gas as engine fuel, the only safe way to dispose of it is to take it to a hazardous waste disposal site. Every state has its own policies and disposal centers, so make sure to check out your local regulations before disposing of any gasoline. You can use this site from the Environmental Protection Agency to determine where the closest hazardous waste disposal site is.
Traveling to the waste site with old gasoline needs careful preparation. You don’t want gas to leak all over the inside of your car, right? The best container for gasoline is a jerry can or other container meant to carry gasoline. These containers prevent leaks of physical gas and fumes, which can negatively affect your mental functions.
The operators will ask you what type of waste you want to drop off at hazardous waste disposal sites. Some disposal sites charge a fee, although most don’t for products like gasoline. After you drop off your old gasoline, the disposal workers will determine the best way to get rid of the old gasoline. Usually, the waste management facility will burn the gas or allow the gas to evaporate over long periods.
Now that you know how to determine if your gasoline is too old to use, you can use that information to check out that gasoline that’s been sitting at home for a few months. If you determine it’s too old to use by itself, you can either mix it with new gas to create a usable mixture or take it to your local hazardous waste disposal facility. Both of these options help protect you from any harm as well as your community.