Can Gas freeze in a Gas Can? Everything You Need to Know

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Many of us have a can or two of gas in our garages or sheds for those times when we need to fill up our snow blowers, lawn mowers, snowblowers or other tools that require gas.

As long as you use that gas quick enough, there usually is not problem with it sitting on the shelf waiting for it’s usage. You might be concerned if your gas can freeze if it’s exposed to extreme temperatures or is in an area with cold winters.

What happens if gas is frozen in a gas can Gas does not have an exact freezing point like other liquids, such as water. Gas can start to freeze anywhere from -45° F to -200° F. The freezing point of gas depends on the elements and additives that have been mixed in with it.

Gas can freeze quite easily, although it is not easy for everyone. There’s a lot more to freezing gas than the meets the eye and there are several ways to properly care for it so you won’t have to deal with issues down the road.

How does gas freeze?

When you have gas stored in a gas can in either your garage, shed, or carport, it’s easy to forget about it until you need it. People imagine gas freezing in the same way as water. It will turn into a solid block of ice. That’s not actually what gas does when it freezes.

Each gas tank may contain different amounts of gas. There are many possible additives or mixtures in your gas. It all depends on the time of year and where you bought it.

For example, oil refineries are allowed to add up to 10% ethanol in their gas and they’re not required to display to their patrons exactly how much is in their gas, only that it could contain up to that much. Ethanol can be dissolved in water and mixed with it.

Ethanol in gas can be seen as an anti-freezing component, especially if it’s inside the gas tank of a vehicle. The water-absorbing properties it has can prevent water from mixing in other places it shouldn’t. But it may react different if it’s just sitting on a shelf and therefore cause a different freezing temperature for the gas altogether.

When gas freezes it becomes a gel-like substance and not a block. So if you’re outside checking on your gas during the winter and slosh it around and hear a few splashes, that doesn’t necessarily mean your gas isn’t frozen. You’ll be able to tell by how easily the gas runs from the spout; if it comes out as easily as it did during the summer, chances are it’s not frozen. If the gas runs slower or comes out a little more chunky, it is likely frozen.

How to Freeze Gas

If you’re in a cold enough climate where the gas in your gas can is frozen, you’ll probably want to stay away from pursuing any activity that requires that gas until it warms up a little.

You may be stuck in a situation where you’re left with no choice and need to use the gas you have to operate some machinery. Maybe you have to top-off your car, or you need to use a snowmobile to get you out of an emergency situation. There are ways to treat and unfreeze gas if you’re in a situation like this.

To thaw gas, simply bring the storage container inside your house and wait for it reach -45°F. Because gas contains toxic fumes, some may be cautious about doing this. To prevent the fumes spreading, you can either put it in a basement or keep it sealed. It should be kept away from heat sources such stoves or furnaces.

To raise the temperature, you can heat up your garage by using a heater. This will also be beneficial to the vehicle or machine you’re about to use; it will run significantly better if it’s warmed up from extremely cold temperatures.

An antifreeze treatment can also be added to the gas. These treatments can be purchased at any auto shop. Keep in mind that this type of treatment will take hours for it to really start working it’s antifreeze characteristics if you’re adding it after the gas freezes.

How To Prevent Frozen Gas

It’s usually unlikely the gas stored in your gas can will freeze. And even if it does, you probably wouldn’t notice because you were too busy staying inside keeping warm. However, gas can freeze and cause permanent chemical changes. If this happens, you might want to take steps to stop it.

It is possible to get gasoline from a station that has ethanol because it has antifreeze components. But do this to your discretion; if the vehicle or machine you’re using this gas for has a carburetor, it’s best to stay away from ethanol gas altogether because it can easily clog up the carburetor.

If you know the gas in your can doesn’t have ethanol in it, you can add some antifreeze treatments to it like it was mentioned earlier. The treatments are available at most auto shops. A fuel stabilizer is also a good option as it can prolong the gasoline’s lifespan.

What happens to a vehicle or machine with frozen gas inside?

You may have some sort of vehicle or machine you need to operate in extremely cold weather and wonder if you’ll be able to start it when it’s cold. The gas in the machine will not freeze if the temperature drops below -45 degrees.

However, because freezing temperatures can create more condensation, it’s likely water has built up in the fuel lines and froze. This can give the appearance that gas has frozen, and your vehicle may not be capable of starting.

There are many other factors that can prevent your machine or car from starting in extremely cold conditions. Such things may include oil losing some of it’s viscosity and a weak battery.

This can be overcome by heating the garage for a few minutes to warm up your vehicle or machine. The ice in the fuel lines will melt and the gas will flow as normal. Once the vehicle has been started, all other parts will warm up.

How full should you keep your gas can or tank during winter?

It’s important to know that if you’re going to have any gas inside a gas can or a gas tank during the winter, you should keep it as full as possible. If you leave any space in the container or tank, condensation can form and bring in water.

It’s also possible to keep a gas can or tank completely empty throughout the winter. Though you will still have condensation build up, there won’t be any gas inside for it to mix with. It’s not recommended that you keep a gas tank in a vehicle empty for very long as that can cause rust inside.

Similar Questions

What is the average time it takes for motorcycle gas to go bad? A motorcycle with unstabilized gasoline can begin to go bad within 30 days. Exposure to oxygen can alter the chemical composition of gas, which can cause gum and varnish deposits. If gas has been stored for more than six months, it should be thrown away. Stabilized gas should never be used for more than 6-12 month. For more information, click here.

Can motor oil freeze? Motor oil technically doesn’t freeze beyond a certain point. But, it is possible for motor oil to be affected by freezing temperatures. Oil will lose some of it’s viscosity at freezing temperatures which ultimately makes it more difficult to flow around inside the engine.

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