How Long Can Gas Be Stored In A Plastic Container

How Long Can Gas Be Stored In A Plastic Container? – Let’s Find Out

Not many people actually have gasoline sitting around too long without being used.

When you do store your gasoline for a while, you might wonder does it actually go off and what exactly happens when the gas has been stored for too long.

Gasoline is commonly kept around the home for filling the lawnmower to powering your generator and you might even have some on hand to refill the car in an emergency.

In order to keep your gasoline fresh and safe to use, you need to make sure you store it correctly.

You want to store your gas in a plastic container that is designed for storing gasoline.

Ensure you always use caution when handling gasoline and keep away from electricity, heat, and fire.

So just how long can we store gas in a plastic container?

How Long Can Gas Be Stored In A Plastic Container?

Gas can start to degrade and end up losing combustibility due to the oxidation combined with evaporation, leaving you with a shelf life of 3 to 6 months in a plastic gasoline container. The ethanol-gasoline types of fuel tend to have a shorter lifespan when storing of around 2 to 3 months. If you use stabilizers In your gasoline, you can get one to three years of life when stored at optimal conditions.

What Effects the Shelf Life Of Gasoline?

Gasoline can expire. It will depend on a few different factors like what type of fuel you are storing, where it is stored along the fact humidity, oxygen, and heat can all have an effect on the fuel being stored.  

Fuel Stabilizer Gasoline

This type will keep for one to three years. Fuel stabilizers are an additive that is petroleum-based and can be mixed in with your gas before you store it.

This will slow down the oxidation and evaporation, which will help to prolong the shelf life.

Each different type will vary, but you can expect to increase the shelf life of the gasoline when storing in a plastic container.

The best thing to do is to mix the stabilizers with new gasoline then store them in a plastic container.

Pure Gasoline

Pure gasoline can keep for around 6 months. The petroleum-based gasoline does not have any ethanol in it and is still prone to oxidation and compound evaporation even when storing in a proper plastic container.

The processes will run slower with pure gasoline, so you can expect to get around 6 months out of the gasoline.

Due to pure gasoline being hydrophobic, it isn’t able to absorb humidity or water, which means you can avoid moisture contamination and fuel separation.

Ethanol Blended Gas

Ethanol blended gas has a shelf life of around three months no longer; this is due to the fast time ethanol oxidizes.

Opposite to pure gasoline, above ethanol, is hydrophilic and loves water.

This means it will absorb the humidity and any water lingering around in the container that can be created by condensation.

This can cause moisture contamination and separation of the fuel. The rule is the higher amount of ethanol it contains, the shorter its shelf life becomes.

What Happens If I Use Old Gas That Is Stored In Plastic Containers?

Old gas can end up losing its volatile compounds and combustible properties. When you then use the gasoline that has been too old, it can end up causing damage inside the engine.

It can also leave a gum residue that can eventually lead to blockages. If there is some sort of ethanol in the fuel, then you might end up drawing the water vapors into the fuel pipes, which will lead to internal corrosion.

How To Store Gas Properly

It is important that you store gas properly in an airtight container. You can use a plastic container that is for gasoline storage.

Ensure that you label the plastic container with details of when you brought the fuel and when it was stored.

Gasoline that is stored in plastic gas containers needs to be kept in a low oxygen environment and kept in a cool place.

Keeping your gasoline in a hot place can create humidity and high heat that can increase the risk of explosion and fire.

You want to aim for no more than storing 5 gallons of gasoline at a time. If you want to store the fuel for a long time, using a stabilizer is the easiest and most efficient way to keep the fuel at its peak.

How To Identify Old Gas In A Plastic Container

Properly storing and labeling the gasoline is a start to looking after your fuel. When you are unsure how old the gas is you can check the color.

When gasoline is old, it changes color and will darken.

The smell of old gasoline is pretty obvious as well. If your gasoline smells sour or has a different smell, you can assume the gasoline has gone bad.

Experts say that you shouldn’t leave small amounts of gasoline sitting in plastic containers, and it is best not to fill them up more than 95% of the way.

Ensure you use a tight-fitting cap on the plastic container and always store at room temperature.

Never store the gasoline in untested or unapproved plastic containers like a soda bottle. Always use a proper plastic fuel container.


Now that you know exactly how to properly store gasoline in plastic containers and exactly how long you can store it for will ensure you get the best out of your gasoline.

Frequently Asked Question About Storing Gas in a Container

Is It Better To Store Gasoline In Plastic Or Metal?

The main concern is durability. Metal cans are more durable but are heavier to carry around. Plastic is more portable and lighter to carry but not as durable. Gasoline will last the same amount of time in either plastic or metal.

Do Plastic Gas Cans Deteriorate?

The plastic gasoline containers will not rust; while the plastic can melt in very high heat situations, they are durable and will last if looked after properly.

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