MAILBAG: How long do I keep gas in a can?

Shep of Grand Haven asked, "I have gasoline I purchased one year ago in 5-gallon containers. When does it become 'old gas' and I should not use in my WaveRunners? Also, where can I take it for disposal?"
Mark Brooky
Sep 26, 2012



According to Sam VanderPloeg of VIP Repairs in Grand Haven, don't keep fuel around for more than a month or two. Despite the cost of gas as it is, the cost of repairs from fouling up your engine is far more expensive than the price of a couple of gallons you have getting cruddy in a container.

Use it or lose it.

Dispose of old gas and oil for free at the Ottawa County Resource Recovery Service Centers. The center at 16850 Comstock St. in Grand Haven Township is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m., and the fourth Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon. The center at 15600 68th Ave. in Coopersville is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




Talked to a retired petroleum engineer when he was drunk. He says today's gasoline is not 100% gasoline. It contains variations of ethanol or alcohol made from corn. Alcohol absorbs water over time if not sealed tight. When gasoline was gas in the 1960's it had a shelf life of about 7 years. The new mixed gas has about a shelf life of maybe days to a month. In a boat its less because the ethanol portion absorbs more water faster being on the river. A gallon of gas puts out about 137,000 btu's of heat and burns fast. Diesel about 160,000 and burns slower. ethanol less than 100,000 btu's of heat and burns super fast. So the gas you buy with alcohol based additives puts out less heat therefore given less heat for your money or in English less gas mileage, so you end up using more to go the same mile. As far as I can tell the only fuel that is pure Gasoline is Aviation fuel out at the Grand Haven Airport. When it comes aviation those engines cannot be messed with or FAA will smoke em!. Torco gasoline is just like premium unleaded and not like Aviation Fuel. You might want to do your own research - but I have stored Airplane or Aviation fuel in my wave runners, dirt bikes, chain saws, leaf blowers, snow blower and have never had any kind of problems with starting or long storage. It smells good too. Just have a credit card and go with can to fill it up. about $6/ a gallon.

Mr. Conservative

most of gasoline today contains about 10% ethanol. That is what gives gas such a short window to use it. adding fuel stabilizer to it will allow you to keep it fresh for up to a year. Go to a boat dock. The gas there is usually 100% gasoline, no ethanol. DONT use aviation fuel. That stuff is leaded and very high octane. It is a lot more toxic than regular gasoline. The guy below saying it smells good must be weird in the mind. Breathing in any exhaust, especially from leaded fuel is very bad for you. Anyways, dont get such large amounts of fuel at once, get 2 gallon capacity cans, that way you can use it all up before it goes bad.


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