How To Dispose Of Old Gas The Right Way

Learn how to dispose of old gas properly and safely so that you don’t damage the environment or get a fine.

It will be quite some time before all our fossil fuel-powered cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, power tools, and what have you become battery-powered, so if you still don’t know how to properly dispose of old gasoline, now is as good a time as any to learn.

After all, gasoline that’s left unused will degrade and become unusable. When this happens, you’d be wise to dispose of it since using it can damage the internal components of your machinery.

But before you take action, know that there are legal and illegal, right and wrong ways of getting rid of old gasoline.

Why You Can’t Just Dump Your Old Gas

Haphazardly dumping the gasoline in your backyard or down a drain is the illegal and wrong way to go about the task and can get you fined. Not only is it illegal, but it can also be downright dangerous.

Dump it down a drain and you risk damaging your pipes and contaminating the water you, other people, your pets, and wild animals in the vicinity drink. 

Dumping the gasoline on the ground is no better. It will just seep into the ground and find its way into soil and drinking water, posing a hazard not just to humans and animals but also to trees and other vegetation.

There are no two ways about it — dumping your old gas willy nilly is a risky proposition that can get you fined and cause serious damage to people, animals, and the environment.

There are legal and safer ways to rid yourself of it. While they will require you to go out of your way and possibly even pay a small fee, you will be better off in the grand scheme of things.

How To Dispose Of Old Gas Safely

Before we tell you how you can dispose of old gas, we’re going to assume that you already know how to safely remove the gasoline from your car and are able to determine if it has truly gone bad. If you don’t, read the next sections before reading this one.

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Otherwise, here are the steps for getting rid of old gasoline safely and effectively:

Step 1. Find the nearest recycling or waste disposal facility. If you need help finding one, try the following:

  • Do an online search for “hazardous waste disposal center” in your city, state, or province.
  • Call your local waste management agency and ask where you can dispose of gasoline.
  • Check with your local fire department. They are knowledgeable about flammable materials and should provide you with suggestions on ways to best handle the gasoline and where it should be taken. Some fire departments may even take it off your hands.

Step 2. Call the facility ahead of time to make sure they are opened and that you meet all their requirements. Not every recycling center and waste disposal site has the same rules or working hours/days. Some don’t even accept all types of hazardous substances.

Step 3. Have the old gas transferred to a sealed government-certified container, either directly from your car’s fuel tank using a siphon pump or by pouring it from an existing container. See the next section for further details.

Step 4. Bring the gas to the facility. Drive carefully and don’t smoke in the car while transporting it. The slightest flame can combust any lingering fumes or residual gasoline that, unbeknownst to you, got on your clothes or the container.

Step 5. Empty the gasoline into the facility’s storage vessel and take the container home to be used another time.

How To Remove Gas From Fuel Tank

Before getting started, make sure you have all the tools needed to safely remove the gas from the fuel tank and that they are organized so that you don’t waste precious minutes searching or fiddling around for them.

What You Need

All the items listed are available on Amazon and at Walmart. Click on each one to see the specific products we recommend.

In addition to those tools, you need a flat, well-ventilated space to work. Think something along the lines of a garage floor or driveway. 

If permitted by your local laws, a street parking spot can also be a good option.

Removing The Gasoline

After gathering all the necessary tools and materials and finding a safe place to work, you want to make sure the vehicle is cooled and hasn’t been running before proceeding to remove the gas. Follow these steps once everything is prepped and ready: 

Step 1. Open your certified fuel disposal container and place it on a level surface near the car’s fuel door/cap.

Step 2. Open the fuel cap and stick the hose of your siphon pump into the gas tank. Get it as close to the bottom of the tank as possible.

Step 3. Place the pump’s output tube into the container. Make sure it’s securely placed in the container so that it doesn’t shoot out while you’re pumping and spray gasoline all over the place.

Step 4. Pump the siphon pump until the gasoline comes out, and keep pumping until all of it has been removed.

Step 5. Remove the siphon out of the tank and the tube from the container and use paper towels or a rag to clean them of any gas.

Step 6. Tightly close the fuel cap and seal the container.

How To Make Old Gas Usable

So, you’ve removed the stale gasoline from the gas tank and have it safely sealed in a government-certified canister. Before you gleefully head out to the recycling or waste disposal facility, consider that you might still be able to use it.

Yes, old gasoline that hasn’t gone too bad can be repurposed and reused, but you’ll need to assess the condition of the gas first.

Pour a sample into a clean, clear mason jar and compare it to a sample of new gasoline. If you notice sediment at the bottom of the jar, a dark color, or a funny smell, it’s likely not usable. Otherwise, it can be diluted with newer gas and reused.

Of course, the more new gas you use, the better the dilution and the lower the risk of your engine or motor not starting.

We recommend that you don’t use the repurposed gasoline in your car or anyone else’s. Reserve it for outdoor vehicles (e.g. lawnmower) or power tools, instead.

In fact, it’s a good idea to get rid of the old gas instead of repurposing it. Even though fuel can be quite expensive, the little money you’ll save won’t be worth the potential harm impure gasoline can cause an engine or motor.

Gas Disposal Tips

Safety first! Gasoline is a highly toxic and flammable substance, so take all necessary precautions when dealing with it.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when disposing of old gas.

  • Inhaling large quantities of gasoline fumes is dangerous, so play it safe by working outdoors. If you must work indoors, open any windows and make sure to have easy and quick access to fresh air.
  • Don’t be a wise guy and try to get the gasoline out of the tank by sucking on a tube. Siphon pumps are cheap, far more effective, and far safer. 
  • If you somehow manage to accidentally swallow some of the gas, stop what you’re doing, drink some milk, and call your Poison Control center immediately.
  • If gas gets on your skin or in your eyes, rinse it under running cool water for at least 15 to 20 minutes and see a doctor if pain or irritation persists.
  • Don’t reuse the canister you used for the bad gas. Any contaminants it may contain could contaminate the good gas.
  • To prevent the canister from tipping over or spilling during transportation, place it in a larger container.

Gasoline Disposal FAQs

How to dispose of old gas - driving question marks

What, you still have questions even after reading our detailed gasoline disposal guide? See if this section answers them.

How Can You Tell If Gas Is Bad?

Some visual signs are if the gas has a dark color or a funny smell or contains rust and dirt particles. Poor engine performance is another symptom.

What Can You Do With Old Gasoline?

We recommend that you dispose of old gasoline since it can cause your engine or motor to run inefficiently or even fail. However, you may be able to reuse it by diluting it with fresher gas.

Can You Dump Old Gas On The Ground?

No! Old gas that is dumped on the ground can seep into soil and drinking water, potentially causing harm to people, animals, and plants. Plus, you’ll likely get fined if you’re caught in the act.

How Much Does It Cost To Dispose Of Old Gas?

Aside from the fuel you will use driving to the recycling or waste disposal center, there is no expense to disposing of old gas. You might be charged a fee by some private waste management facilities, but that’s not the norm.

Final Thoughts

Once gasoline ages, it becomes less effective at starting an engine and keeping it running smoothly. It can even become too old or degraded to be completely unusable.

When that happens, your best bet is to dispose of the gasoline in a way that doesn’t cause harm to you, other people, animals, or the environment. Not only is doing so the right thing to do, but it will also keep you out of trouble with the law.

We wrote this detailed guide to not only teach you how to dispose of old gas safely but also how to remove the gasoline from your car and, if need be, make it reusable. Use it to your advantage, and get more articles like it here.