How Long Can You Keep Gasoline in a Generator? A Guide to Storage Time

home generator

Gasoline is a vital component of powering generators, lawnmowers, and other small engines. However, storing gasoline for prolonged periods is an issue for many individuals. Gasoline can degrade over time, leading to engine problems and poor performance. The question is, how long can you keep gasoline in a generator?

The answer depends on several factors, including the type of gasoline, the storage conditions, and whether the gasoline has been treated with fuel stabilizers. Below, we’ll discuss the shelf life of gasoline, the different types of gas, and how to store gasoline properly.

Shelf Life of Gasoline

Gasoline has a limited shelf life, meaning it degrades over time. The shelf life of gasoline varies depending on several factors, including the type of gasoline and the storage conditions. However, on average, gasoline can last up to six months when stored correctly.

Several variables can impact the shelf life of gasoline. These variables include exposure to air, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. High humidity can cause gasoline to absorb moisture, leading to oxidation and the formation of gums and varnishes. In contrast, cooler temperatures slow down the oxidation process and can extend the life of gasoline.

gasoline types
types of gasoline 87 89 91

Different Types of Gasoline

There are several types of gasoline available, each with a different composition and shelf life. The most commonly used gasoline types include regular gasoline, rec-90 gasoline, and treated gasoline.

Regular gasoline, also known as E10, contains ten percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. The ethanol component of E10 gasoline can absorb moisture from the air, leading to the formation of gums and varnishes, reducing the shelf life of the gasoline. When stored correctly, E10 gasoline can last up to three months.

Rec-90 gasoline is ethanol-free gasoline commonly used in small engines such as those found in generators and boats. Because it contains no ethanol, rec-90 gasoline has a longer shelf life than E10 gasoline, lasting up to six months when stored correctly.

Treated gasoline is gasoline that has been treated with fuel stabilizers, improving its shelf life. Fuel stabilizers are chemical additives that help prevent the formation of gums, varnishes, and other deposits. When treated with fuel stabilizers, gasoline can last up to 12 months when stored correctly.

Storage Conditions for Gasoline

Proper storage conditions play a crucial role in extending the shelf life of gasoline. Below are some tips on how to store gasoline correctly:

  1. Store Gasoline in a Cool, Dry Place

Temperature fluctuations and exposure to sunlight can cause gasoline to degrade quickly. To extend the life of gasoline, store it in a cool, dry place such as a garage or shed. It is best to store gasoline in a container made of metal or plastic and with a tight-fitting cap to prevent air and moisture from entering.

  1. Use the Right Container

When storing gasoline, use the appropriate container designed for the purpose. Metal and plastic containers are suitable for storing gasoline, while glass containers are not. Glass containers can break easily and allow air and moisture to enter the gasoline, leading to its degradation.

  1. Keep Gasoline Away from Sparks and Flames

Gasoline is highly flammable and poses a significant fire hazard. When storing gasoline, keep it away from heat sources such as space heaters, stoves, and direct sunlight. Avoid smoking or using electrical devices near gasoline containers.

  1. Use Fuel Stabilizers

As previously mentioned, fuel stabilizers can help extend the life of gasoline. When purchasing gasoline, consider purchasing a fuel stabilizer to use with it. Fuel stabilizers can prevent the formation of gums and varnishes, leading to improved engine performance and increased shelf life.

generator gas
ethanol free storage lifespan

Examples of Fuel Stabilizers

There are many different brands and types of fuel stabilizers on the market, each with their own unique formulation and features. Here are some examples of popular fuel stabilizers:

  1. Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer: This petroleum-based fuel stabilizer is one of the most widely used and trusted brands on the market. It claims to keep fuel fresh for up to 24 months and can be used in gasoline, diesel, and ethanol-blended fuels.
  2. Sea Foam Motor Treatment: This synthetic fuel stabilizer is designed to clean and lubricate engines while also stabilizing fuel for storage. It claims to keep fuel fresh for up to two years and can be used in gasoline and diesel fuels.
  3. Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment: This enzyme-based fuel stabilizer is designed to enhance fuel performance and stabilize fuel for storage. It claims to keep fuel fresh for up to two years and can be used in gasoline, diesel, and ethanol-blended fuels.
  4. PRI Fuel Stabilizer: This synthetic fuel stabilizer is designed to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions while also stabilizing fuel for storage. It claims to keep fuel fresh for up to two years and can be used in gasoline, diesel, and ethanol-blended fuels.
  5. Royal Purple Max-Clean Fuel System Cleaner and Stabilizer: This synthetic fuel stabilizer is designed to clean and protect fuel systems while also stabilizing fuel for storage. It claims to keep fuel fresh for up to two years and can be used in gasoline and diesel fuels.

These are just a few examples of the many fuel stabilizers available on the market. When choosing a fuel stabilizer, it’s important to consider factors such as the type of fuel you’ll be using it with, the length of time you’ll be storing the fuel, and any additional features or benefits you may be looking for.

generator fuel shelf life
generac generator fuel

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the shelf life of gasoline is essential for anyone who owns a generator. Gasoline can degrade over time, especially if it is stored improperly. It’s important to use fresh gasoline whenever possible and to add a fuel stabilizer if you plan on storing gas for an extended period.

Rec-90 gasoline, treated gasoline, and ethanol-free gasoline tend to have a longer shelf life than regular gasoline. The shelf life of gasoline can also vary depending on the storage conditions, with cooler and less humid environments being more favorable for long-term storage.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for storing and maintaining your generator. This includes draining the fuel and properly storing the generator when not in use.

By taking the necessary precautions to store your gasoline properly and using a fuel stabilizer, you can ensure that your generator is always ready to go when you need it. Don’t wait until the next power outage to realize that your stored gasoline has gone bad. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can ensure that your generator will be a reliable source of power for years to come.

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