Disposing of old gasoline

We have a few gas-powered pieces of equipment (snowthrower, leaf blower, lawn mower, string trimmer, etc.). All of their manuals quite clearly state not to use gasoline that has sat for more than thirty days or so. I’ve seen the same warning on many websites that I’ve gone to. Ok, fine. But… but… but what does one actually do with the old gas?

I’ve a couple gallons of regular gasoline and a gallon or so of gas/oil mix that are both several months old. I’ve called the town’s transfer station, a few gas stations, a few auto-repair places, and a couple junkyards. I even asked at the local (i.e. non-box) hardware store. None of them would take it, and almost all of them, when asked for suggestions, said that most people just pour it on the ground :eek:

We have a 99 Acura, but it takes a higher octane gas than what’s in the can and as it’s our only car, I’d be quite reluctant to risk mixing it with a full tank—and it still leaves the question of what to do with the gas/oil mix.

So what to do? Water balloon fight from hell? Bonfire of the insanities? Care package to the American Petroleum Institute? We’re in the Catskill region of New York, if that makes a difference.



My city just had a hazerdouse waste disposal day recently, so I would assume yours has them also, or at least a certain drop off point. Maybe you could call your local city hall or recycling center and see what they say. According to this gas care site, gasoline is not always accepted:

That’s all I have.

First there are products – one goes by the brrand name Stabil (I believe) that are designed to add gasoline when you intend let it sit for a while either over summer for snowblowers or over winter for lawnmowers.

Second, I have often used my snowblower a winter later with old gas that has sat all summer (without Stabil) with no ill effects so you might just try it.

Finally, if you don’t want to use it, is there someone you know locally who does lawn work, etc? They’d likely be able to use the oil/gas mixture immediately. They will probably need to know what ratio it is. As I recall newer equipment uses 20-1 and older equipment uses 12-1.

These “warnings” are so you don’t blame poor performance on the equipment, not because it’s dangerous. I’ve used gas that is at least 6 months old in a lawn mower with no ill effects. A couple of gallons? I’d just use it.

Exactly. The idea to replace it arose when I put the regular gas in a Murray lawn mower. It ran perfectly last season, but now it sputters along, barely running. Checked (and even replaced) the spark plug, air filter, oil level, etc., but to no avail. It runs exactly like descriptions say it should—poorly. My biggest fear is that come next winter, the same thing will happen to the snow thrower. That is, I’ll be at the wrong end of our three hundred feet of gravel driveway with a dead machine, two feet of snow, and somewhere to be. Yuck.

Which is why I want to get rid of it and start afresh… which is sounding harder and harder. Craig’s List, maybe?

My auto mechanic BIL simply mixes it in with the gas in his car or truck. It may get a little poorer performance for that one tankful, but won’t generally harm the engine (as long as it’s all gasoline and not some gas/water/dirt/oil/trash mixture). As to the octane ratings (WAG warning!), if you mix one gallon of 87 octane with 10 gallons of 91 octane, your going to have 11 gallons of about 90.5 octane - not a big difference.
If your still concerned about using it all in your car, why not add it in slowly, like a quart at a time over a few weeks?

I agree that pouring it out on the ground is just not a great idea.

** No. No. A thousand time NO! **

** Disposing of Old Gasoline **

I call BS on that too. They are just worried that It could cause poor performance.

I have a plow truck that I rarely even start in summer. I use about 20-30 gallons of gas in it a year. For the size of the tank, the gas gets used very slowly, and I’ve never had any problems.

Same with my chain saw. Use it a couple times a year. Never had any problems.

Whatever you do, do not pour the premix for the 2-stroke into your car.
You would not be happy with the results.

As long as it’s not “premix”, you can safely pour a gallon or so of stale gasoline in your car’s tank and burn it along with a full tank. This is not enough to degrade the octane rating appreciably. Although a bit pricey, you can somewhat avoid storage issues with products like Stabil, or better, use “white gas” (Coleman Fuel) which is a low-octane first distillate of gasoline that doesn’t break down like regular unleaded gasoline. I’m told that first-responders use this in items that are used infrequently but must start the first time, everytime. I’ve tried it, and it works swell in lawnmowers and weed-wackers and such.

Ya know, I’m probably gonna get flamed (irony) for this, but for small amounts of gas, um, just dump it out. It will literally evaporate in minutes. If it makes you feel better don’t dump it on soil, but pavement (though it will still evaporate very fast on soil).

Its not nitroglycerin people. Its just gasoline. :smiley:

If old gasoline caused the problem, the solution is in the carbuerator. Old gas can gell a little, hang around in the carb and affect fluid flow even after replacing the old gas.

That’s what I’ve been told by several mechanical friends over the years who are appalled that I use the previous year’s gas for my lawnmower. I never have a problem.

However I always use fresh gas for the outboard engine on my boat.

wouldn’t this work?:

  1. Pour the gas into a open container (like a bucket, or a baking dish from the kitchen) and let it sit in the sun.

  2. Time how long it takes to evaporate

then give the results to a 6th grader for his science fair project.

Agreed. Old, stale gas leaves a varnishy residue in the jets that can build up and eventually restrict or completely clog one of them. A healthy dose of carb cleaner ought to clean them out if the buildup isn’t too severe. Otherwise, you may need to take the carb apart and gently ream the jets out with a bit of piano wire or a small drill bit, being VERY careful not to widen the jet any. Finish up with a shot of carb cleaner.

I would really personally rather use chemical cleaning or a stiff strand of copper wire rather than a drill bit or steel. Brass and other soft-metal jets are amazingly easy to damage.

I just put it in my jerky next-door neighbor’s car. Problem solved!