Do you have old gasoline on your hands and don’t understand what to do with it? You are in luck then because the steps below show you how to dispose of old gasoline, responsibly and safely whilst minimizing the adverse environmental impact.
You have to dispose of gas with full responsibility. If you don’t, you could potentially create a serious risk of conflagration, contaminate water sources, kill animals, and damage the environment.
Disposing of gasoline by pouring it down toilets, storm drains or onto land may be illegal in your jurisdiction.
How You Can Dispose of Gasoline
- Take a look at the gasoline and smell it. This will give you an idea of how old it is.
- If the gas is old but uncontaminated, dilute it with fresh fuel to reuse it
- Find out about the most convenient hazardous waste disposal site at your location
- Pour the gasoline into a government-certified container
- Ensure that you clean up all gasoline spills
- Take the container to the disposal site to deposit it
Here are further details about the aforementioned steps that will help you to do the job correctly.
Check the Gasoline for Age and Contamination
You must inspect the gasoline to determine its age and contamination if any. To do this, pour some of it in a clear glass container. Pour some fresh gasoline in another clean glass container for comparison. Place these two containers side by side to compare easily.
If the old gasoline has a darker color and sour smell, then it may have aged to the extent of becoming unfit for your engine. Ethanol is typically added as a preservative. The fuels of today, therefore, have greater stability than fuel from past years.
Despite greater stability, the gasoline will become unsuitable as fuel if it languishes in storage for a few months. Don’t forget to consider the unknown length of time that it remained at the gas station. If gasoline remains unused for too long, it degrades and loses its combustibility. Such gasoline will not harm your engine. However, the engine may have problems starting up and may even fail to run at all.
Although you can always dispose of old gas, if you are interested in using it, you should dilute with fresh gas to make it fit for reuse. But this is not always possible. If the gasoline is too contaminated, then you cannot reuse it.
Therefore, you must check the gasoline for signs of discoloration, dirt or rust. If you find one or more of these, then the gasoline is contaminated and unfit for use. You cannot reuse it because the particles may clog up the fuel lines and interfere with engine operation.
Mix up Old Gasoline
The problem with old gas is that it loses its combustibility. It may, therefore, cause problems during engine startup.
One way to remedy this is to mix it with fresh fuel. When mixed in the right proportion, old gas will not reduce the combustibility of the resultant blend significantly. The new blend will still be good enough for reliable engine operation.
So if stale gas occupies half of your lawnmower tank or less then you can fill in the remaining space with fresh fuel. You can then fire up your lawnmower engine again without problems. However, you will consume the gas fairly quickly as you mow the lawn. One good idea to make better use of the gas blend is to add fresh fuel again when half of it is finished. You will increase the efficiency of the resultant fuel and therefore get more work out of it.
If you want to reuse larger quantities of stale gas, then the gas tank of your car or truck will be more convenient. For this purpose, you should first check the tank capacity by referring to your car manual or searching online. Fuel tank capacity typically ranges between 9 and 16 gallons.
If the tank capacity is 9 to 10 gallons then check to see that it is at least three-quarters full. If it is, you can then safely pour into the tank up to half a gallon of the stale gas that you want to rejuvenate. Closely follow the gas level while filling up the tank. You should stop pouring more fuel when the tank fills up just below the safety flap.
When you place the gas nozzle into the mouth of the gas tank, the safety flap is pushed inwards. The function of the safety cap is to prevent the spillage of gas when it is being poured in.
Likewise, if you have a 12-gallon tank, you can safely fill in a three-quarter gallon of stale gas. In 16 gallon tanks, you can pour in an entire gallon of old gas.
If necessary, you can also query your local automotive shop about fuel additives that can allow you to add more stale gas to a given amount of fresh gas. You can then use fuel additives that they recommend for this purpose.
Injector cleaners, octane boosters, and other similar products are very useful for revitalizing old gas. It all depends on your vehicle engine and the fuel in question. Your automotive professionals will assess these factors to give you the best solution.
All of this is possible only if the fuel is clear. If it shows signs of discoloration or impurities, then you should dispose of it. If the stale gas appears to have a darker hue when compared to fresh gas then you cannot salvage it on your own for reuse. It will clog your engine with impurities.
Locate the Closest Hazardous Waste Disposal Site
You can find waste disposal sites in a number of ways. But before going to these sites, make sure that you check their timings. Some sites open only on weekends or certain days of the week.
You can check for these facilities in the following ways.
- Do an online Google search by typing “hazardous waste disposal center”. Type in your state, city or county in front and press enter.
- Call up the waste management agency of your city or county. You can inquire from them about how you can proceed with the safe disposal of stale gas.
- Your local fire department can also give you answers. Since gasoline is highly flammable, they know how to dispose of it safely.
- You can ask your auto repair shop if they accept stale gas. Many will not entertain your request because they will incur extra expenses as a result.
Pour the Gasoline into Government Certified Containers
You should fill up government-certified containers with your stale contaminated gas. These resemble plastic jugs or jerry cans. A funnel will be of much use in transferring stale gas from the old container to the government-certified one. According to most fire codes, you should transfer no more than 5 gallons in each government-certified container. You can find these containers at gas stations or automotive shops.
Pour in carefully and gradually to stop the fuel from spilling or splashing about. Make sure that at least 5 percent of the interior space in government-certified cans is available for fumes. Try to avoid the fumes as far as possible. Once you have poured in the stale gas, turn the lid shut tight.
You can then place the container in another receptacle such as a bin or rubber cooler. This will keep your container safe and prevent it from toppling during driving.
Clean up Gas Spills
If you have spilled any gas on your clothes, then change what you are wearing and clean up your stained clothes. Use a clean cloth to absorb as much of the stain as possible.
Rub baking soda onto the affected area to absorb gas the cloth could not soak up. Allow it to rest for a few minutes before brushing it off. Use a little liquid dish soap to treat the stain for five minutes.
You can now wash the stained clothes in the hottest water that the fabric can tolerate. Put your clothes out to dry when you are certain that all traces of gasoline are gone. Any remaining gasoline can spark off combustion in the dryer so don’t put these clothes in there.
If there is spilled gasoline on the driveway or concrete path, you can soak it up using kitty litter. It can take a couple of hours for the kitty litter to remove the gas spill. Sweep up the litter for disposing of with liquid gasoline.
When you have transferred the old gas and clean up up, you should wash your hands thoroughly.
Transport Old Gas to Hazardous Waste Disposal Site
Ensure that you drive as carefully as possible so that the container does not fall. While transporting gas make sure that you avoid smoking at all costs. Even a tiny spark can set off gas vapor in a small enclosed space.
When you arrive at the center, you can pour out the old gas from your government certified container into their storage tank. You can now take back your own container and use it again to dispose of old gas if necessary.
Gasoline Safety Tips
Not only is gasoline highly flammable, but it is also toxic and hazardous to your health. Therefore, you should be aware of all the necessary guidelines concerning this dangerous fluid and ensure that you implement them whenever you are handling this substance.
Study all advice provided on the US Government’s Medline Plus.
Here are some practical steps that you can take to minimize the risk when dealing with gasoline.
- Inhaling large amounts of gasoline is extremely dangerous. You should always handle gasoline outside to prevent the buildup of gas fumes in enclosed spaces.
- If you notice a burning sensation in your lungs, dizziness, nausea, or any other symptom of gas inhalation, move far away from the gasoline to get some fresh air. Read the US Government Medline Plus to note down all symptoms of gas inhalation. In short, if you feel any discomfort, just get away from the gas to inhale fresh air.
- If you swallowed any gasoline, quickly dial 1-800-222-1222 to get help from poison control. You should drink milk or water immediately unless poison control prevents you from doing so. If you are treating someone affected by gasoline ingestion, DO NOT force them to drink if it is too difficult for them to do so. Drinking may become too difficult with symptoms like decreased alertness, seizures and vomiting.
- If any gasoline gets into your eyes or skin, pour plenty of cool water in the affected area for 15 minutes at the very least. If the burning sensation or discomfort persists even after you have poured cold water for 15 minutes, you should seek professional medical assistance.
- If you have ingested gasoline, DO NOT force yourself to vomit unless directed to do so by poison control.
- Keep the following information ready when calling emergency: (1) condition, weight, and age of affected person, (2) name of the gasoline product if you are aware (3) time when affected person swallowed gasoline (4) amount of gasoline swallowed.
- Remember, the biggest danger posed by gasoline ingestion is that it can get into the lungs. The problem with throwing up is that it can force the gasoline into the lungs. This will lead to serious lung damage and even asphyxia leading to death.
How Will Old Gas Affect My Engine?
Aging gas poses problems for your vehicle engine. The biggest issue is that important volatile compounds may be lost from old gas. Sadly, these compounds evaporate very rapidly. In their absence, gasoline will burn less efficiently.
The hydrocarbons in the fuel can oxidize due to the action of air and metal. Such a reaction will create gum-like substances that can gum up your engine. You need a cleaning compound to remove this nuisance.
You can mitigate this problem by filling up your fuel tank fully if you won’t be using your car for a long time period. There will be less open space above the fuel for the additive compounds to evaporate. You should also make sure that you shut the gas cap tightly in place to prevent fuel vapor from escaping and fresh air from entering the tank.
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