What is the shelf life of gasoline?

The cost of gasoline is constantly rising, so many motorists are looking for ways to save on it. So, they resort to a reserve of fuel, storing it in special containers. But here it is important to understand that simply buying and storing gasoline is not enough.

You need to know under what conditions such storage should take place, for how long and how to choose the right barrels or canisters. This article will help you understand this issue.

What does it depend on

Many drivers are interested in whether it is possible to store gasoline at home. Experts confirm that this is possible, but urge you to pay attention to some important points. So, when storing gasoline for a long time, special attention is paid not only to the container in which it will wait in the wings, but also to the following:

  • Climatic and natural conditions. This is explained by the fact that the properties of gasoline are lost when the air temperature rises, and when the air temperature decreases, the shelf life of gasoline increases.
  • Tightness.
  • Material of container walls, etc.

But even if quality is lost, you shouldn’t worry, since you can always restore it. To do this, stored fuel should be mixed with fresh fuel. The main thing is that the gasoline is of the same brand, and the proportion is 1:2, respectively.

Getting into the engine, bad fuel saturates it with resins, which settle on the piston parts, and they become unusable.

Does gasoline spoil?

You must understand that gasoline is not the simplest substance. It contains various hydrocarbons, the quantity and type of which are determined by the manufacturing technology, and in addition, numerous additives added by the manufacturer. At the time of leaving the factory, the product meets the requirements, but then it begins to change. And this is caused by several factors.


It is no secret that gasoline contains highly volatile fractions that are added to increase the octane number. The longer the fuel's shelf life, the higher the probability of its change. It is clear that this is not in the direction of improving performance. When volatile substances evaporate, the ratio between fractions is disrupted and the quality of gasoline decreases.

It is clear that if this happens in a car tank, then nothing bad will happen; as a rule, such gasoline is used in a short time. But evaporation negatively affects the storage of gasoline at home.


All substances interact with oxygen. Gasoline is no exception. As a result, resinous substances are formed in it. However, over time, their number increases, causing gasoline to deteriorate. Its use can lead to resin deposits on pipelines, reservoirs, as well as increased carbon deposits in cylinders and spark plugs.

The oxidation process itself takes quite a long time and over several stages. Its speed depends on environmental conditions (pressure, temperature), as well as on the fuel manufacturing technology. Here we need to make a small digression.

The ability of gasoline to interact with oxygen (to oxidize) is characterized by the induction period parameter. It refers to the time required for the onset of oxidation at a temperature of 100° and a certain oxygen pressure. This is tested in laboratory conditions. The higher this parameter, the higher the stability of gasoline.

It primarily depends on the carbon composition of the fuel, which is determined by production technology. The most susceptible to oxidation are gasolines produced by thermal cracking, pyrolysis, and catalytic cracking; their induction period is 50–250 minutes. The products obtained by direct distillation and catalytic reforming are more stable.

Induction period for gasoline obtained:

  • catalytic cracking is 240-1000 minutes;
  • direct flight – 1200 minutes;
  • catalytic reforming – over 1500 minutes.

Some people stock up on a few hundred gasoline and think that if the oil is stored underground for centuries, then nothing will happen to the gasoline. However, it is not. During storage, various chemical processes occur, during which the liquid loses some of its properties. These processes begin faster if certain fuel storage conditions are not met. Thus, high humidity and temperature changes affect its quality.

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The shelf life of gasoline according to GOST is five years. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Every year it loses its properties, but remains still suitable. However, its quality depends on the manufacturer and its storage conditions.

Storage temperature

How long it can maintain its quality depends on the storage conditions of gasoline. First, you should consider the temperature conditions at which storage is allowed.

Some drivers leave fuel containers on the street. In this case, it is necessary to protect them from direct sunlight. But since experts recommend keeping the fuel cool at all times, it is better to put it in a basement or bury it. The optimal temperature is +25 degrees. Higher temperatures may lead to evaporation of substances, worsening technical parameters.

In winter, you need to ensure that stocks do not cool below -10 degrees. It is also important to understand here that, for example, when a car is parked all night in winter, the fuel is cooled to -25 degrees and this is acceptable as a short-term phenomenon. And during long-term storage, the correct temperature must be strictly observed.

Can I use expired?

When gasoline loses its octane number, it loses its properties, and, accordingly, quality .

Even if you purchase fuel in reserve, observe its storage conditions and ensure the tightness of the container, over time natural reactions will occur in gasoline, leading to the destruction of its compounds, and within a year the fuel will simply “burn out.”

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Gasoline retains its properties even less in a fuel tank : after just six months of the car being idle, the fuel will become unusable, since in this case the temperature storage conditions are not met.

Experts do not recommend buying gasoline with a reserve in principle, especially considering that modern fuel differs in quality for the worse when compared with the gasoline that was sold at gas stations 20-30 years ago.

Today, gasoline contains quite a lot of additives, additives and preservatives that do not adversely affect the fuel only during the first few weeks .

After this period, such additives begin to negatively affect the composition of gasoline, which helps reduce its shelf life.

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The preservation of gasoline properties is influenced by :


It is probably not worth reminding that special attention is also paid to tightness. When the container lid is not properly closed, the fuel often comes into contact with air, and then intense oxidation occurs. It is impossible to completely avoid such contact, but it will help to minimize it:

  • Tightly sealed lid.
  • The container is not completely filled with gasoline, but only 95%.

Shelf life of gasoline and its proper storage

Gasoline stored for a long time undergoes changes that can deteriorate its properties. This is primarily due to chemical oxidation processes occurring under the influence of air. Storing gasoline at oil depots is very different from the conditions for storing it at home, but even the best storage conditions for gasoline cannot completely prevent these processes.

Even if all conditions are met, the shelf life of gasoline cannot exceed 5 years. In addition to chemical changes that reduce the octane number of gasoline, low-boiling hydrocarbons gradually volatilize. This leads to the fact that leaded gasoline loses ethyl bromide, which removes lead from the combustion chamber, as a result of which carbon deposits form in the chamber.

The shelf life of gasoline in a canister that is hermetically sealed depends on the temperature. On average, gasoline can be stored for up to a year. The higher the storage temperature, the shorter this period. It also depends on what material the canister is made of, since some substances, such as copper or tin, promote oxidation.

The shelf life of AI 92 gasoline does not exceed one year, because it contains numerous additives that are destroyed quite quickly and the octane number of gasoline drops even when stored in a sealed container and at low temperatures.

Storing gasoline in a plastic canister will not help increase its shelf life; it will be stored for the same amount of time as in a metal canister. When poured from a plastic canister, gasoline may spontaneously ignite because the plastic accumulates static electricity. Therefore, it is better to use a metal container to store gasoline.

For a large supply of fuel, gasoline storage barrels, metal or plastic, are used. Barrels should be opaque, with well-closing stoppers. Plastic barrels must have good protection against static electricity.

Gasoline in fully filled barrels or cans is preserved better than in half-empty containers. In full containers there is no oxygen, so gasoline oxidizes less. Also, in half-empty barrels, an explosive steam-air mixture is formed, which can easily cause an explosion. However, filling containers with this product to more than 95% is unacceptable.

Gasoline losses during storage depend entirely on storage conditions - tightness and temperature. The higher the storage temperature, the greater the evaporation losses will be. Storing gasoline in a hermetically sealed container reduces its loss. Gasoline storage barrels must have sealing rubber gaskets to prevent evaporation.

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Basic rules for storing gasoline:

  • store in a hermetically sealed container in a cool, dark place;
  • the storage room must be well ventilated;
  • It is necessary to exclude the presence of open flames and sparks in the gasoline storage room.

For a large supply of fuel, gasoline storage barrels, metal or plastic, are used. Barrels should be opaque, with well-closing stoppers. Plastic barrels must have good protection against static electricity.

Container wall material

If fuel reserves are left in the tank of the car, its storage reaches six months. But before use, it is better to add new gasoline to such gasoline.

This type of storage increases oxidation and resin formation compared to storage in barrels. This process is accelerated by copper and copper alloys. So, in a car, fuel is forced to come into contact with brass parts, namely the filter mesh and the intake tube. This leads to resin formation.

Experts still advise giving preference to installing containers in places protected from direct sunlight, cool and with good ventilation.

What should I store it in?

Its shelf life directly depends on how gasoline is stored. It is best to pour fuel into special cans and metal barrels. Sometimes you can find fuel poured into plastic bottles and flasks, but this is wrong! Over time, a reaction begins to occur between gasoline and plastic, and a statistical discharge occurs.

In theory, when gasoline is poured into the fuel tank, a spark may occur. and what could be more dangerous than these processes? In other cases, the shelf life of fuel in plastic containers is the same – one year.

The best and recommended way to store gasoline is a grounded tank, the so-called buried tanks - this way they are always stored within the same temperature and are reliably protected from sunlight. At home, people often bury ordinary metal barrels of gasoline in the ground, and this allows them to approach the five-year shelf life according to GOST standards.

In addition, among the containers you can also find special tank trucks. However, do not forget that the ideal temperature for storing fuel is 20 degrees Celsius. If a container with fuel is exposed to direct sunlight, at a temperature of about 70, active evaporation of gasoline begins, which can be extremely dangerous to life.

Read also:

What does the octane number of gasoline depend on?

How does it spoil?

Metamorphoses inside gasoline begin due to violation of its storage conditions, if you do not take into account the time factor. The difference in temperatures, their difference, contact with air - all this leads to the loss of its properties by gasoline. Gasoline contains many fractions that have excellent volatility and are the first to evaporate and disappear.

Meanwhile, they play a connecting role between heavy lead particles and prevent them from remaining in the engine even after fuel processing. When these substances evaporate, the octane number of gasoline certainly decreases, which affects its quality. This situation can occur if fuel is stored in a container that is not sufficiently sealed.

Another process harmful to fuel quality is oxidation. When fuel meets oxygen, it is inevitable. The quality of gasoline decreases, the amount of tar and carbon deposits in the vehicle’s fuel system, on cylinders and other parts increases.

Additives are an essential component of gasoline. They enter gasoline in order to improve its quality and octane number. This is why many motorists believe that in Russia there are no AI-95 and AI-98 in principle, since this is the same AI-92 only with the addition of a lot of additives, which are not always permitted. And the high octane number of gasoline is imaginary, and the quality of the fuel still remains low. In addition, the validity period of such additives is very short.

Vladimir Khomutko

auto RU

Sometimes some of them evaporate from the fuel within a month and, accordingly, AI-95 turns into AI-92. This circumstance should be taken into account when using “stale” gasoline. Sometimes, to restore the quality and characteristics of the fuel, special additives are added to it, thereby compensating for the loss due to time. Such additives can be purchased at almost any automotive store.

Where and how much to store gasoline

There are the following options for containers where you can store fuel:

  1. Metal canister - allows storage for up to one year. Here it is important to monitor the rubber gasket located on the lid, as it is corroded by gasoline and therefore loses its seal. It should be replaced periodically. Based on GOST, such a container must have a special internal coating that can meet the requirements of electrostatic safety.
  2. A plastic canister also allows you to store fuel for up to one year. But it is still undesirable to use such containers, and some types of plastic are completely prohibited for such purposes. The fact is that plastic provokes oxidation and accumulation of static charge, which can result in ignition. Therefore, give preference only to special plastic containers.
  3. Plastic bottle - not used at all, even for one-day storage. Even gas station employees refuse to fill such a container. For emergencies, you need to have special metal and plastic containers in your car.
  4. Barrel or small tank - suitable for long-term storage, up to two years. It is recommended to bury the containers into the ground to the upper limit, and also ensure good tightness. This arrangement will prevent sunlight from hitting the container, which heats it up.

Where is the best place to keep

Every car enthusiast wonders where it is better to store fuel so that it does not spoil. The ideal vessel is considered to be a sealed metal tank. This could be a tank, a canister, and so on.

Plastic vessels are undesirable because they:

  • susceptible to oxidation and other chemical factors;
  • accumulate a static charge on themselves, which is dangerous due to fire;
  • enter into chemical reactions with petroleum products.

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Among the recommended containers are:

  • canisters;
  • barrels and tank trucks;
  • above ground tanks;
  • buried tanks.

Regular canisters are often used, despite the fact that they have a short shelf life. The best option would be buried tanks, as they are protected from sunlight and do not heat up.

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