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If you have ever been pumping gas or refilling the gas tank on your lawnmower you may have had the question of what color is gasoline supposed to be? This article will explain what color gas is and what you can do if you suspect that your gas is bad.
Gasoline will typically be somewhat clear or have a slightly yellow tint to it. The color of gasoline can vary depending on where you are currently located and what octane the gas is. Gasoline is refined to a clear liquid but the actual color of gasoline will be determined by the sort of dyes that the gasoline manufacturer used when they made the gasoline.
You may not know but gasoline is refined from crude oil that is pulled from within the earth. Gasoline is created by removing all of the impurities in crude oil until you are left with a fluid that can be easily combusted. Gasoline is not made the same across different continents or even different areas of the same continent. But how does gas go bad?
How Does Gas Go Bad?
Over time your gasoline will start to break down from oxidation stress. That is why gasoline containers will have a cap that will seal off air from being able to enter or exit the gas container.
Gasoline that is older will start to break down from oxidation until it is no longer able to effectively be burnt off by your engine. That is why if you put old gasoline in your gas tank it can cause your engine to run rough or even stall.
Water contamination will also start to occur in gas tanks over time. Since most people will not keep their gas tanks full all of the time there is typically some air that will also be present in your gas tank. Over time that air can start to condense into water that will then drop into your gasoline contaminating it.
If you did not know water is bad for your engine and can cause your engine to hydrolock. This is because water is not combustible and cannot be compressed like air. If your engine tries to compress water in your engine cylinder this can cause your engine to lock up or break different internal parts of your engine.
If this happens to you then you are likely looking at having to rebuild your engine or replacing it with a new one. If you would like to know more about what it means to hydrolock an engine I’ve included a link to an article I’ve written on the subject here: What Does It Mean To Hydrolock An Engine?
One way to combat this from happening to you is making sure that your gas tank is full before you go to store any vehicle or gas for a period of time. The more you have your gas tank full with gasoline the less space for air in the gas tank or gas container.
How To Tell If Your Gas Is Bad
If your gas is bad you don’t want to use it in any of your engines as it can cause your engine to not start or run poorly which you would then need to dump the gas tank.
Take a look at the color of your gasoline, if it is orange in color it is most likely bad and will need to be replaced with newer gasoline. If your gas is orange in color it is probably old and won’t properly fuel your engine. If you know your gasoline is over a year old you should probably dispose of it and not use it in your engine.
You can also buy more gasoline at your local gas station and compare the color of the new gasoline with the gas you had been storing. That way you can compare the colors to make sure that they are close enough that you can still use the gas you had been storing.
What Should You Do If You Have Bad Gasoline
If you know that you have old or bad gasoline it’s best to just dispose of it in an environmentally safe way. If the bad gas is in a gas tank one option you would have is to siphon the bad gas out of the fuel tank. You can do this by using a tube or by purchasing a handheld pump to pump the bad gas out of the gas tank.
The other option you would have is to add a fuel additive to the bad gas to try to increase the octane levels and bring it back to life. Lucas oil sells a fuel additive that is supposed to neutralize bad gas and increase the octane levels of gasoline.
If you want to take your chances of running the bad gas I would suggest first pouring Lucas Oil fuel additive into it. You can buy Lucas Oil fuel treatment at your local auto parts store or online. If you’d like to check out the current prices of Lucas Oil fuel treatment on Amazon click here.
How to Store Gasoline
If you know that you are going to be storing a vehicle or a gas tank for a long time there are a couple of steps that you should follow. If you can find a way to remove any gasoline from your gas tank it is going to be best to store the vehicle or gas tank with no gasoline in it. This may be easy to do with a lawnmower but it may not be as easy to do with a vehicle.
If you are not able to remove all of the gasoline from your gas tank you can also run the engine of your vehicle or lawnmower until it burns through all of the gasoline in the gas tank. That way you can store the vehicle or gas tank with no gasoline in it.
If your vehicle is a diesel you would not want to do this as it can destroy your fuel injectors and fuel pump if you completely run out of diesel. With diesel engines, if diesel is completely used up the fuel pump will start to pull in air from the gas tank. This can ruin the fuel pump and can result in costly mechanic bills as your fuel system may need to be repaired.
If you are not able to completely empty your gas tank before you have to store a vehicle for a long period of time you would want to fill up your gas tank with gasoline as much as possible.
Filling up your gas tank as much as possible prevents water condensation from building up in your gas tank as there will be no air inside the gas tank to condensate into water. This should be done on any large vehicles that you are not going to be able to drain the gas tank easily on.
Another thing that you can do to help your gasoline last as long as possible is to use a fuel stabilizer. If you know that your gas is going to be sitting for a long time you can buy a fuel stabilizer that helps the gas stop breaking down from oxidation stresses.
STA-BIL makes a fuel stabilizer that I have used before to help keep my gas in my motorcycle fresh over the winter months while it is in storage. If you want to check the current prices of the STA-BIL I use you can click this link to Amazon here.
Does Octane Rating Affect Color of Gas?
You may have also noticed that gasoline has different octane ratings on it. Gasoline is rated at different octane ratings to let the end-user know how susceptible the gasoline is to combust under pressure.
Not all engines are made the same and will have different compression ratios depending on how they were manufactured. The higher the compression ratio of the engine the higher octane fuel will be required to power the engine.
If you used lower octane gasoline in your high compression engine designed to be used in conjunction with high octane gas it can cause engine knocking. Engine knocking is when
This is bad news for your engine as it can cause catastrophic engine failure if your engine is not able to continue rotating like normal.
What Color Is Gas – In Conclusion
Gasoline colors can change depending on where you are at as not all gasoline is made the same across the country or the world. If you know that the gasoline is somewhat new then you should be fine. If you notice that your gas has started to turn orange from the normal yellowish tint you may want to look at getting new gasoline.