Race fuels generally last longer than typical pump gas but often times race fuel is stored for several months between racing seasons. Here are a few good tips to keep fuel as fresh as possible from one season to the next:
- Keep containers tightly sealed. This will minimize the loss of certain components in the fuel that tend to evaporate more readily than others.
- Keep fuel tanks and fuel cells as full as possible. This will reduce the amount of “breathing” since there is less vapor space above the liquid level and thus reduce the amount of moist air seen by the fuel.
- Store fuel where there are minimal temperature swings. Changes in temperature can make a fuel container or fuel cell breathe more which can degrade fuel quality.
- Store fuel in such a way that it is not exposed to daylight. UV-proof dark fuel jugs, steel drums, and the like are required for maximum shelf life of the fuel. Fuels contain components that are sensitive to light; the octane rating of the fuel can drop if the fuel sees too much light.
- Perfectly stored, most race fuels will last more than a year. If you are not sure you can use the fuel up within 2 years, add a quality fuel stabilizer to the fuel as soon as you purchase it. Fuel stabilizer can only postpone fuel degradation; it can’t fix fuel that’s already bad.
- Try to avoid putting additives into fuel unless they are needed. And remember, just because one dose of an additive is good, don’t assume a quadruple dose is better. Overdosing can trigger other problems such as particle build-up in the fuel and deposit build-up in the engine.
Please note that these points deal with optimizing the “shelf life” of racing gasoline and do not cover safety aspects of handling gasoline.