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Does Stove Fuel Go Bad?

While rummaging around my basement I found a can of stove fuel. Does this stuff go bad like regular gasoline?


While rummaging around my basement I found a can of stove fuel. Does this stuff go bad like regular gasoline?

Submitted by - Don Turcotte, Dayville, CT


If you’re talking about sealed butane-mix canisters, no, they won’t go bad. But if you’re talking about a jug of white gas, that’s another story. Once opened, white gas should generally be used within a few months. I confess that I’ve used the very old dregs of rusty cans left in my garage on more than one occasion. It works, but it gunks up your stove much faster, requiring more frequent cleaning and on-the-ball maintenance. Bottom line: if you value your stove and your time (cause it takes time to dissect and clean your stove), ditch the old stuff and spring for a new bottle (you can get a gallon for about 5 bucks at discount chains).

But it begs the question: what to do with the old stuff? It’s highly flammable, toxic, and not the type of stuff you want to dump down your pipes or into your bed of pansies. I know plenty of folks who simply drain it into their car’s fuel tanks. As long as there’s plenty of gas already in the tank to mix it with, it shouldn’t create any problems. (Cover my ass footnote: I’m not suggesting you do this and don’t blame me if your motor starts crapping out!) Your best bet is to bring it to either a gas station or your department of public works, both of whom should have tanks that you can drain your can into. Your public works office should also be able to answer questions about recycling the spent fuel cans as well.

1 Comment

  1. John E Hiker

    I have consistently used Coleman fuel that is at least 10 years old without problem. It may be slightly less volatile than new but it still works fine and doesn’t seem to clog my MSR or my old Optimus 111B stoves. After I open a new gallon container I immediately transfer extra fuel into several one liter Sigg fuel bottles and it lasts for many years this way. In other words, I do NOT store the fuel in the gallon container once it has been opened.

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