Can Gas Expire? The Answer May Surprise You!

For those of us who don’t drive often or don’t have power generators, gas cans are handy to have in case of emergencies or natural disasters. However, many people wonder if they can store gasoline long-term and if it ever expires. In this article, we will examine if gas can expire, how to store gasoline properly, and what can happen if gas goes bad.

Does Gas Expire?

The short answer is yes, gas can expire. Gasoline is made up of many volatile chemicals that, over time, can break down and evaporate or oxidize, leading to its instability. Additionally, gasoline can be contaminated with water, which can cause corrosion and bacterial growth. Not only does expired gas have less energy, but it can also cause damage to your engine or other machinery that uses it. So, it’s crucial to know how to store gasoline properly, which we will discuss in the next section.

How to Store Gasoline Properly

To prevent gasoline from expiring or becoming contaminated, you need to store it properly. Here are some tips that will help you store gasoline correctly:

Use the Right Containers

To store gasoline, you must use an appropriate container. Metal containers can rust, and plastic containers can deteriorate after prolonged exposure to gasoline, so it’s best to use containers made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Additionally, make sure the container is clean and free of debris before filling it.

Store Gasoline in a Cool Dry Place

Extreme temperatures can cause gasoline to deteriorate faster, so it is vital to store it in a cool, dry place, ideally below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you store gasoline in an area that is too hot, it can evaporate faster, leading to less fuel for your car or generator when you need it.

Keep Gasoline Away from Heat Sources and Flames

Gasoline is highly flammable and can catch fire quickly, so it’s crucial to keep it away from heat sources and open flames. Keep gasoline away from ignition sources like stoves, power tools, or hot water heaters.

Use Fuel Stabilizer

Fuel stabilizer slows down the oxidation process and helps prevent gasoline from expiring. If you plan on storing gasoline for an extended period, adding fuel stabilizer to the container can prolong its lifespan.

What Happens if Gas Goes Bad?

If you store gasoline improperly or for too long, it can become contaminated, lose efficiency or expire. The following are possible issues you may face when your gasoline expires:

Engine Malfunction

Stale gasoline can cause engine malfunction or damage, as it can cause clogs in fuel injectors and carburetors.

Starting Problems

Gasoline that has been stored for too long can cause starting problems with cars, generators, or any other machinery that runs on gas. It may take several attempts to start the engine.

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

Expired gas has less combustible elements than fresh gas and is less efficient. So, if you use expired gas, you will notice reduced fuel efficiency and mileage.

Bad Smell

You can easily detect if gas has gone bad through its odor. It will have a sour smell and may emit fumes.

Contaminated Fuel Tank

Expired gas can cause rust, dirt or other contaminants to accumulate in fuel tanks, fuel lines, and carburetors. This can lead to more severe issues in machinery, including engine damage and reduced lifespan.


While gas can expire, knowing how to store it properly and understanding the signs of bad gas can help you avoid costly engine repairs and other issues. Remember always to store gasoline away from flammable materials, use an approved container, and use fuel stabilizer where necessary.

Common Questions

Here are some questions people often ask related to gasoline expiration that you may find useful:

  • Can I store gasoline for more than a year?
    • Yes, you can store gasoline for more than a year, but its quality will decrease over time. For more prolonged storage, use fuel stabilizers to prolong gasoline‚Äôs life.
  • Is it safe to store gasoline inside my house or garage?
    • No, it’s not safe to store gasoline inside your house or garage due to risks of fumes and combustion. It is advisable to store gasoline in a detached and properly ventilated storage area.
  • Can gasoline get contaminated?
    • Yes, gasoline can become contaminated by water or other fluids. Keep gasoline far from water sources and rain. Avoid filling a gas can on a dirty or dusty surface.


Here are some of the references we used for this article:


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