Letter Re: Questions on Maximizing Gasoline Storage Life

Sorry to bug you but I searched your site and couldn’t find the info [I was looking for]. In your experience what’s the best brand of gasoline stabilizer I can use? Are there any tricks to help the gas last longer like buying a higher octane & doubling up on the amount of stabilizer? Is 1 year of storage about the max the fuel will be at it’s best. Thanks, John T. Plumeraye

JWR Replies: I describe the degradation of stored gasoline fairly well in my novel “Patriots”. Adding a gas stabilizer does prolong the storage life. The Sta-Bil and Pri-G brands are roughly comparable in effectiveness. (Although I’m sure some fuel storage aficionados will chime in with a more informed opinion than mine about which brand is best.

The main culprits in gasoline storage are: A.) the hygroscopic nature of gasoline (attracting moisture.) B.) The development of tars, gums, and esters, and the gas degrades, C.) and the gradual loss of butane. I have read that buying winter formulated gas–the gas with extra butane to provide better cold weather starting that is sold roughly October to March of each year in the US and Canada–is more important than buying high-octane gasoline. OBTW, for starting engines after the butane dissipates, keep a couple of cans of ether-based starting fluid handy. (This will allow you to start an engine even with gasoline that has had all of its original butane “burned off.” )

To maximize storage life of gasoline, be sure to store you gasoline in tightly containers, filled as close to the top as possible. This will minimize water absorption.