What To Do With Old Gas From Lawn Mower

Proper disposal of old gas from a lawn mower is relevant and important due to environmental and safety concerns.

Gasoline, when left unused in a lawn mower or any other container for an extended period, can deteriorate and become "bad gas".

Using bad gas in a lawn mower can lead to poor engine performance, increased emissions, and potential damage to the mower's engine components.

After you drain the gas from your mower you need to handle and store it properly.

What To Do With Old Gas

Understanding Old Gasoline

Old gasoline is fuel that has been stored for too long, causing it to lose its effectiveness.

It deteriorates by losing its combustibility, octane rating, and forming gums and varnishes, leading to poor engine performance and potential damage.

Using old gas in a lawn mower can cause performance issues because the gasoline's chemical properties degrade over time.

This deterioration leads to reduced combustibility, lower octane rating, and the formation of residues that can clog engine components.

As a result, the lawn mower may experience difficulty starting, reduced power, and inefficient operation, potentially damaging the engine in the long run.

Signs of Bad Gasoline

Indicators that old gas has gone bad and is unsuitable for use in a lawn mower include:

  1. Color: Old gasoline often turns darker in color, sometimes appearing cloudy or hazy.
  2. Odor: Bad gas emits a sour or stale smell. It can be more pungent and unpleasant compared to fresh gasoline.
  3. Octane Rating: Over time, the octane rating of gasoline can degrade, leading to reduced engine performance and knocking sounds in the lawn mower.
  4. Separation: Gasoline can separate into different components when left unused for a long time. This separation can be observed as visible layers or an inconsistent appearance.
  5. Residue and Sediments: Bad gas can leave residue and sediments in the fuel tank and carburetor. These deposits may clog fuel filters and other engine components, affecting performance.
  6. Efficiency and Start-up Problems: Using old gas may lead to difficulty starting the lawn mower or cause it to run unevenly, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency and power.

Bucket of Old Gas

If any of these indicators are present, it's best to avoid using the old gas and properly dispose of it. Instead, fill the lawn mower with fresh, high-quality gasoline to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the engine.

Why Proper Disposal is Important

Improper disposal of old gasoline poses significant environmental and safety risks. Here's a succinct highlight of these risks:

Environmental Risks:

  • Water Contamination: When old gasoline is disposed of improperly, it can seep into the ground and contaminate groundwater sources, potentially affecting drinking water supplies.
  • Soil Pollution: Old gasoline can release harmful chemicals into the soil, disrupting soil quality and affecting plant growth and agricultural productivity.
  • Air Pollution: Evaporating gasoline emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to air pollution and smog formation, impacting air quality and respiratory health.
  • Ecosystem Damage: Contaminated soil and water can harm wildlife and aquatic life, disrupting delicate ecosystems and endangering vulnerable species.

Safety Risks:

  • Fire Hazard: Improper storage and disposal of gasoline can lead to fire hazards due to its flammable nature. Gasoline vapors can ignite and cause accidents, especially in poorly ventilated areas.
  • Health Hazards: Prolonged exposure to gasoline vapors or skin contact with gasoline can cause health problems like headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, and respiratory issues.
  • Equipment Damage: Using old gasoline in lawn mowers or other engines can result in poor engine performance, increased wear and tear, and potentially expensive repairs.
  • Chemical Reactions: Mixing old gasoline with other substances during improper disposal might lead to hazardous chemical reactions, further endangering people and the environment.

To mitigate these risks, it's essential to follow proper disposal guidelines for old gasoline, such as taking it to designated hazardous waste collection centers or recycling facilities.

Using fresh fuel in lawn mowers and ensuring safe storage practices can help prevent environmental damage, accidents, and health issues, even in animals.

Storage and Shelf Life of Gasoline

Store gasoline properly in a sealed, approved container, kept in a cool, well-ventilated area away from sunlight and ignition sources.

Its typical shelf life is three to six months. To extend it, use fuel stabilizers, rotate your supply regularly, and consider ethanol-free gasoline to reduce degradation.

Waste Recycling Center

Recycling and Reusing Old Gasoline

Recycling options for old gasoline include hazardous waste collection centers and recycling facilities.

Possible uses for old gas include using it in older machinery with lower performance requirements or as a cleaning agent for greasy surfaces. Responsible recycling or proper disposal is the safest option for old gasoline.

Proper Disposal Methods

Environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of old gasoline include taking it to local hazardous waste disposal facilities or events.

These facilities are equipped to handle and process hazardous materials safely, preventing environmental contamination.

Many municipalities organize special events for hazardous waste collection, where residents can drop off old gasoline and other hazardous materials for proper disposal.

Check with local authorities or waste management departments to find information about the nearest hazardous waste disposal facilities or upcoming collection events in your area.

By utilizing these options, you can ensure that old gasoline is disposed of responsibly and without harming the environment.

As a responsible small engine technician, I do it every time my gas recovery barrel fills up.

Clean and Healthy Backyard

Mixing Old Gas with New Gasoline

Mixing old gas with new gasoline is generally not recommended. Old gas that has gone bad may have degraded and lost its combustibility, octane rating, and overall effectiveness as a fuel.

When mixed with new gasoline, the overall quality of the fuel mixture can be compromised, leading to potential engine performance issues, difficulty starting, and increased emissions.

However, in certain situations where the old gas is not severely degraded and the amount being mixed is small, it may be acceptable to blend the two.

This is often done to dilute the effects of bad gas and make it more usable.

Precautions to take when mixing old gas with new gasoline:

  1. Assess Quality: Check the condition of the old gas carefully. If it appears dark, smells sour, or has been stored for an extended period, it's better to avoid mixing it with new gasoline.
  2. Small Proportions: If you decide to mix old gas, do so in small proportions, such as no more than 10% of the total volume. This minimizes the impact of the degraded fuel on the overall mixture.
  3. Use in Non-Critical Engines: Consider using the blended fuel in less critical engines or equipment, such as lawn mowers or garden tools, rather than in vehicles or machinery that require optimal performance.
  4. Fuel Filters: Check and clean or replace fuel filters before and after using the blended fuel to prevent any potential residue or sediments from reaching the engine.
  5. Monitor Performance: Observe how the engine performs with the blended fuel. If you notice any issues or decreased performance, discontinue its use.

I find it's best to use fresh, high-quality gasoline to ensure optimal engine performance and to minimize any potential risks associated with using old gas.

If you're uncertain about whether to mix old gas with new, err on the side of caution and dispose of the old gasoline properly.