Does petrol and diesel go off? Fuel shelf life explained

As fuel prices rise, many drivers are hoarding the stuff when they find a good deal.

But before you start storing it, you need to know if it has a shelf life and where is the best place to store it. Everything is explained below.

The fuel crisis has led to motorists filling up canisters in droves


The fuel crisis has led to motorists filling up canisters in drovesPhoto credit: Times Newspapers Ltd

Do petrol and diesel expire?

When gasoline is oxidized, it can expire.

But if stored properly – in a sealed container at 20 degrees – it can last up to six months.

If stored at higher temperatures, it may expire in about three months.

Using expired fuel can cause contaminants to clog and damage your engine’s internal mechanisms.

Diesel can now be used for between six months and a year before it expires and becomes resinous.

“Gummy” diesel is when it becomes sticky over time, which can clog your engine.

It is possible to refresh old gasoline or diesel fuel in the tank by refilling it with new fuel.

The RAC states: “If your tank is full of old fuel (particularly old diesel), have it drained by a garage or professional mobile service.”

“If you suspect that your petrol or diesel is stale, it is best to top up with fresh fuel at a petrol station.”

Can you store gasoline at home?

You can store up to 30 liters of gasoline at home or away from work without informing the Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA).

Although required by law, the Health and Safety Executive advises against storing petrol unless absolutely necessary.

The AA has also previously said it is “deeply concerned” about the storage of petrol and diesel in its cars, which has been described as “incredibly, incredibly dangerous”.

A spokesman said Brits “shouldn’t even think about keeping it at all”.

What is the best way to store fuel?

The best place to store gasoline is in your car’s tank.

However, if you need to store fuel, there are some safety precautions you can take.

It should not be kept in a house, but in a shed or garage separate from your living and sleeping space.

Gasoline containers should only be stored in a well-ventilated, secure outbuilding, away from living quarters and all sources of ignition such as fire, lights and electrical connections such as electrical outlets or fuse boxes.

Children should not have access to gasoline.

It is best to store it in:

  • Plastic container – Storage of up to 10 liters
  • metal container – Storage of up to 20 liters
  • Removable fuel tank – Storage of up to 30 liters

Always decant fuel outdoors – not in a garage or shed – and use a pourer or funnel.

A HSE spokesman said: “Petrol is a dangerous substance; “It is a highly flammable liquid that gives off fumes that can easily catch fire and, if handled improperly, potentially cause a serious fire and/or explosion.”

“This means there is a risk of serious personal injury if gasoline is stored or used in an unsafe manner.”

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Be careful of containers that previously held gasoline as the fumes will remain.

Even an empty container that previously contained gasoline can be unsafe due to the fumes left behind. So make sure the lid is tightly closed and follow the same advice for storing gasoline.


TaraSubramaniam is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. TaraSubramaniam joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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