Gasoline is the lifeblood of our society. It powers our vehicles and generators or garden tools and makes the world go around.
Leaving unused remnants of it stored for long in your garage, or sitting in some garden tool all winter, brings risks of spoiling or becoming contaminated. They are only two options available at this point: legal disposal or diluting the solution and reusing it.
Once gasoline ages or gets spoiled it loses its combustion abilities and it is almost impossible to start the engine.
When it comes time to dispose of that extra supply, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t end up costing more lives than necessary.
A lot of people just pour out the excess fuel onto the ground, which is not as safe as you would expect.
The ground can become contaminated and this leaves an unsafe mess for other animals or even humans who try to cross through. Not only does this contaminate the earth, but also creates a fire hazard if left uncovered during the summer months. So what’s are we supposed to do with the spoiled, unused gasoline?
Luckily there are some easy solutions that will ensure safety.
Gasoline disposal guidelines
- First, check the condition of the gasoline and decide if it’s good or not. The appearance and the smell of the gasoline can tell you if it is useable.
- If it isn’t contaminated, older fuel is a valuable commodity! You can reuse old gasoline by mixing it with a fresh one.
- Do some research and find any hazardous waste disposal sites in your area.
- Make sure that the gas gets safely transported and stored in a government-certified container.
- Get the gas spills cleaned up as soon as possible.
- Help the environmental sustainability and transport the gas to the disposal center.
Step1: Find out if the gasoline is contaminated
What’s the easiest way to test if gasoline is contaminated? Pour some in a glass container, then fill another jar of clean new gasoline and compare them.
If there are any noticeably darker or “sour-smelling” odors, then the gasoline is most likely aged and lost its efficacy.
Thanks to the addition of ethanol, which is a preservative, today’s gasoline can last longer on shelves than it ever could in years past.
Gasoline that has been sitting for more than a couple of months is likely to lose its combustibility, which can make your engine fire up less easily.
The old gas that your car is running on will not hurt it, but there are a few issues with using this kind of fuel. Your engine could run inefficiently or fail to fire at all because the right mixture of gasoline and oxygen isn’t properly present anymore. This makes the engine lose its power and makes it less efficient.
The newer gasoline contains additives so they can be more efficient when you need them most, while also helping avoid accidents from a poor performance like those mentioned before.
The leftover gasoline is being tested for contamination. If it shows particles of discoloration, rust, or dirt, the fuel is contaminated and can no longer be reused.
Step2: Use up that old gasoline
For sure, old gas has lost some of the combustion potency that is so important to fire an engine. It is possible to use old gasoline by mixing it with new gas in the tank of a vehicle or an outdoor power tool.
When diluting old and new gasoline, the right proportions are key to keeping the entire tank combustion ability:
- The old gas in your lawnmower might not be strong enough to start the engine, but if you fill up a half tank or less of new gasoline, it could give it that extra oomph needed. You’ll burn quickly this new gasoline mixture while working in your yard. Remember that the more new gasoline you add the more combustion power you get.
- You can mix larger quantities of gasoline into your truck or car tank. Firstly, check the capacity of your gas tank and estimate the quantity of old gasoline. With a small tank of 9 to 10 gallons, which is at least ¾ full (check your fuel gauge), add half-gallon old gasoline. Following that logic, you can always dump ¾ of a gallon into almost full 12-gallon tanks. To a nearly full16-gallons tank, it is no problem to add a full gallon of old gasoline.
Adding old gas to fresh may cause the engine to stop running smoothly. You might want also to ask employees at an automotive supplies shop if there are any additives that could allow for a higher ratio of new-to-old fuels in order to finish using up the supply more quickly.
There are two main reasons why using a fuel additive is a good idea. Firstly, it will help you use up the old gas more quickly; secondly, many fuel additives also reduce wear and tear on your engine—not just from new gasoline but also with old fuels that may be contaminated or have gone bad in storage for long periods of time.
If adding old gas to fresh gas doesn’t sound like such a big deal, there’s always some residue left behind even after draining an entire tank at one go… then consider using fuel additive products instead!
The most important thing is to know when to dispose of your old gasoline. If it has impurities or rusty color then it’s better to store it in a safely proven container and transport it to the nearest disposal center.
Step3: Find your nearest gas disposal center
Make a research and find the nearest hazard disposal center. Double-check when it’s open for visitors because some of these centers are open only on the weekends or on certain days.
- You can easily search online for a “hazardous waste disposal center” near your location
- Check your county or city waste management agency to find out where the spoiled gasoline goes
- In order to ensure that your old gasoline is stored safe, contact the fire department. They can give you the best solution to this kind of situation
- Can your mechanic take the gas off of your hands? If you are in a good relationship with an automobile repair shop, it can be worth the question. These pros may not want to take on your old gas for free but if they do then that could save you time and money!
Step4: Store gasoline safely in a proven container
Make sure to pay attention when transferring gas from one container into another, make sure the new containers are government-certified to carry gasoline. These could be a jerry can or plastic gas jugs. Also, be sure not to spill any on your clothes, you wouldn’t want any accidents happening!
Some fire codes require each container to store less than five gallons of gas.
To minimize the amount of fumes you inhale, and to avoid static or spillage, make sure to pour gasoline slowly. After pouring to a maximum of 95% of the capacity seal your container tightly with its lid so that it doesn’t leak or spill.
Place the container upright in your car’s trunk, and make sure to line it up so that if you happen to bump into something while driving or experience a leak from dropped pressure, any liquid won’t have spilled out. We highly recommend washing your hands with soap after operating with this hazardous material!
Step5: Quickly get rid of the gas spills
If you have any gasoline stains on your clothing, change into fresh clothes and take care of the stained set. Start by blotting out as much excess liquid using a white cloth. Use baking soda to absorb the rest by letting it sit for a least 5-10 minutes.
Now, you should apply dish soap with liquid to treat the stains for five minutes before washing and drying. When line-drying clothing that was soaked in gasoline, be sure all traces of the gas are gone because if not this can cause combustion when heated up in the dryer!
If you spill gasoline on the driveway, use your kitty litter or other absorbing product to soak it up. It will need a few hours and you need to be patient while it’s doing the job. When finished sweep it away and dispose of it with the rest of the spoiled gasoline.
Step6: Transport the gas to the disposal center
Always drive carefully, and never smoke while transporting gas. Gas fumes can linger easily or could have splashed on you- it only takes a small amount of gasoline to be combustible in an enclosed space.
Now that you’ve made it to the gasoline disposal center, you should fill up their holding tank with the spoiled gasoline. Remember to take home the empty 5-gallon jugs for next time!
Top Safety Tips for Handling and Dealing with Gasoline
There is no denying that gasoline can be dangerous. It’s highly toxic and flammable, so just think a little bit when transferring or disposing of this substance! Also, don’t forget to follow all the advice from your US Government Medline Plus.
- Inhaling gasoline fumes in large quantities is pretty dangerous. Always work outdoors when possible- if not, the minute that you notice your lungs burning quickly get to fresh air!
- If you find yourself accidentally drinking gasoline, we recommend quickly swallowing a glass of milk and call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 immediately!
- If you get gasoline on your skin or in your eyes, it’s important to wash it off as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Gasoline can burn the tissue of the eye (and other sensitive areas) if not removed completely! If anything feels wrong after washing away the gasoline, contact our emergency department immediately.