Running out of petrol and diesel? Fuel durability explained

WITH fuel prices at Record level, some people hoard the stuff when they find a good deal.

But when you start storing it, petrol and diesel have a shelf life and where is the best place to store them? Everything is explained below.

Man fills plastic canisters at a gas station


Man fills plastic canisters at a gas stationCredit: PA

Do petrol and diesel expire?

When gasoline is oxidized, it can deteriorate.

When stored properly – in a sealed container at 20 degrees – it can last up to six months.

However, if stored at higher temperatures, it may expire after about three months.

When expired gasoline is used, it can cause contaminants to clog and damage the internal workings of your engine.

Meanwhile, diesel can be used anywhere from six months to a year before it expires and becomes “gummy”.

“Gummy” diesel is when it becomes sticky over time and this can clog your engine.

However, it is possible to freshen up old petrol or diesel sitting in a tank by topping it up with new fuel.

The RAC states: “If your tank is full of old fuel (especially old diesel), have it drained by a workshop or professional mobile service.

“If you suspect your petrol or diesel is stale, our best advice is to refill with fresh fuel at a service station.”

Can you store petrol at home?

You can store up to 30 liters of gasoline at home or away from work without notifying the Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA).

Although legal, the Health and Safety Executive advises against storing gasoline unless absolutely necessary.

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The AA has also previously said it is “desperately concerned” about people storing petrol and diesel in their cars, which has been described as “incredibly, incredibly dangerous”.

A spokesman said the Brits should “not consider storing it at all”.

What is the best way to store fuel?

The best place to store gasoline is in your car’s tank.

However, if you need to store fuel to fuel a lawn mower or garden equipment, there are a few safety precautions you can take.

It shouldn’t be stored in a house – and should be kept in a shed or garage separate from where you live and sleep.

Gasoline cans should only be stored in a well-ventilated, secure outbuilding away from living quarters and away from all ignition sources such as fire, lights, and electrical points such as outlets or fuse boxes.

Children should be denied access to petrol.

Best to store it in:

  • suitable portable metal or plastic containers
  • a removable fuel tank
  • a combination of the above, as long as no more than 30 liters are kept

Always transfer fuel outdoors – not in a garage or shed – and use a spout or funnel.

An HSE spokesman said: “Gasoline is a dangerous substance; it is an extremely flammable liquid giving off vapors which can be easily ignited and have the potential to cause a severe fire and/or explosion if mishandled.

“This means there is a risk of serious personal injury if gasoline is improperly stored or used.”

An empty container that previously held gasoline may also be unsafe due to the fumes that remain. So make sure the cap is securely closed and follow the same advice for gas storage. Running out of petrol and diesel? Fuel durability explained

Chris Barrese

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