What can (should) one do with old gasoline?

Anyone who’s been following my life diligently knows the elderly couple who sold us this house left behind a lot of stuff. (like 14 garbage cans, among other things) We took advantage of a free afternoon and decided to clean and organize one of the two sheds - the one into which we just crammed a bunch of our stuff when we moved here. Among the good stuff and old crap that was uncovered in that shed were 7 cans of 87 octane gasoline of possibly indeterminant age.

I’m assuming they’re all 87 octane because there are pieces of tape on each can stating it contains 87 octane gas. Some also state where it was purchased (Wawa) and what it cost (1.36) and some are dated (the oldest being 1998) :eek: :eek: :eek:

We took all the cans out of the shed and parked them under the overhang of the garden shed. I’m not an expert, but I’m of the understanding that gasoline changes as it ages, and that dumping this gas in the mowers or the car would be a bad thing. I’ve heard suggestions that if you mix a small amount of old gas with a lot of new gas, it will work just find.

So, I pose these questions:

Can this gas be used? If so, how? If not, how does one dispose of approx 15 gallons of the stuff safely and environmentally?

Ive heard and a 6:1 ratio (new:old) is the way to use it up.

The problem with this theory is this: Who wants to dump Really Old Gas, diluted or no, into their $35,000 (or $65,000) car, minivan or SUV? Why ask for trouble when other disposal methods pose no risk–even if low–to your vehicle? And if you’re going to use it up in, say, a lawnmower at your specified dilution rate, we’re talking a 5-10 year supply.

My solution: Hollywood flash pot. Don’t forget the video camera. :wink:

Keep it on hand and think of it as starter fluid for the fire pit you haven’t built yet…

One hell of a bonfire party comes to mind.

You can use it to get rid of those pesky tires that have been acumulating in the backyard.

Call you local town and see if the they offer free haz waste drop off for homeowners. Many cities do this, and you can drop off the gas cans for free.
The problem with running it in a car is it might be contaminated. Burning is dangerous and maybe illegal.

This is a very good point, at the very least you may need to replace your fuel filter or something, which will negate any savings from using the stuff. Metal cans may have rust inside too. I don’t think it would be good to run straight, say in a lawn mower as the lighter compounds would have evaporates and other things would have changed, which I assume would make the lawn mower very hard to start, and it may not run well.

I wonder if you could add a gal to 100 gal of home heating fuel.

I don’t think it will be

Adding gasoline to home heating fuel is a very bad idea, unless you’re interested in meeting the members of your local fire department. :wink:

Every spring, I mix the winter’s store of snowmobile gas with regular truck fuel so I don’t have stale stuff lying about. If there is concern about rust from the can, then pour it through a coffee filter.

Well, I now know who not to allow near the gasoline… :eek:

Actually, I’m trying to get the former fire piles in the yard to recover. I think the old man who lived here was a bit of a fire bug. He burned everything!! I found scorched light bulb bases, window shade mechanisms, metal bands from paint brushes, melted down electrical stuff, and all kinds of other stuff in at least 6 different places in the yard. I think they were too cheap to spend the $10 to take a load to the landfill, so they burned it all, sorta.

I hadn’t even considered rust - I’m more concerned about the age of the stuff. I supposed I could Google…

Take the cans to the local petrol station. They have a disposal system. Basically you just pour the petrol down a hole and they take care of it.

BTW I hope those cans are permanently shaded.

I work at a “local petrol station.” If we have a disposal system, it’s news to me.

I’m in the U.K.; perhaps it’s different in America. When I last availed myself, the attendant openned a manhole cover and I just poured the stuff in. I guess it went into a holding tank.

Yes, they’re on the north side of a shed in a stand of trees beneath a shelf. Any sun they get would be at a low angle early in the morning, if at all.

Sounds like it’s time for an East Coast Burning Man Festival.

I’ve always been told that the best way for a homeowner to get rid of small quantities of old gas was to let it evaporate. Just pour it into a open container (I’ve used aluminum pie pans) and let it sit in the back yard.

But I’m thinking with seven cans, you may have crossed the threshold of “small quantities”.

I’m sure you’re already aware of this but should your disposal of said liquid involve incineration, please be careful after you pour the gas anywhere. Twice I’ve found myself in situations where a brush pile was saturated with gas and both times the fumes travelled outward from the pile far, far beyond the distance we’d moved away, the result being encompassed by walls of flame each time.

The fumes don’t go up, they go out low. A long, long ways. And then some.

I’ve “heard” that you can pour it into the tanks at oil wells. The unrefined crude oil type. It mixes happily with all the other petrochemicals and those tanks are specifically designed to hold pertochemical mixes of various proportions reasonably safely. The crude is then refined so all the chunky bits would get taken out before it was put into someone’s engine again. You should perhaps find out if the well is heated before shipping and not do it when the tank is due to be heated. This, of course, is all unofficial knowledge and I would not know anything about it should anyone ask.

Officially, you should look for a community hazardous waste collection point and take the gas, any old cleaning agents, old paint, batteries, computers, appliances, etc. to be properly reused or stored.

While this will work, it is most likely the worst way environmentally to dispose of it (and risk of fire which may go unnoticed). Hydrcarbons released into the air cause pollution (I forgot the chain as it breaks down, but it ain’t pretty).