Firstly, you are only allowed to keep a certain amount of properly-stored petrol at home which the Health and Safety Executive limits to 30 litres. Should you require to store more than 30 litres, you are required to contact the Petroleum Enforcement Authority.
Diesel is different, there are no specific legal requirements on the storage of diesel in your home however, please ensure that it is stored in a safe location and a responsible amount due to the volatility of diesel.
The ideal way to store fuel at home is by storing it in metal containers or plastic containers (such as a jerry can) if a metal container is not available, so long as there is a tight-fitting cap.
When you are storing petrol, safety has to be of the highest importance, the flammable nature of the liquid is best stored in a secure outbuilding that is extremely well ventilated and away from any potential sources of ignition. The ideal place for this would be in a garage or a shed as they are cool and dry places. This should go without saying that the container should always be kept outside of the house and out of reach of any children.
How long should you keep fuel for?
Not many people know a) that fuel can go off and b) that it is actually not a long time. In any container, you only have a couple of months before the quality begins to diminish.
If the petrol is stored at about 20 degrees, the shelf life of petrol is approximately 6 months which drastically decreases to just three months if it is kept at 30 degrees should the container be completely sealed.
What happens if I store fuel for too long?
The more that the fuel is exposed to heat, the quicker it goes off. The science behind this is that the lighter hydrocarbons begin to evaporate out of the petrol. As some of the hydrocarbons in the petrol evaporate, other hydrocarbons react with the oxygen in the air and this resultantly forms gummy solids. Once this gummy petrol has got into the fuel pipelines, this will begin to start to block it thus resulting in the car breaking down.
Another issue with storing fuel for too long comes from one of the other main ingredients in petrol, Ethanol. Ethanol is hydrophilic which simply means that it bonds to water. If there is ethanol in your petrol, it will begin to suck in the water vapour from the air which will mix in the petrol. If you were then to put this in your car it will cause a host of problems such as corroding the system, slimy clogged filters and an inability to start or drive the vehicle.
What should I do if I have got old fuel in my fuel tank
The first thing that you should do is to pull over in a safe location and turn the car off in order to prevent any further cycling of the fuel around systems in the car.
Then you should call Fuel Fixer on 0800 015 9564. We are able to arrive to you with an average response time of just 43 minutes, we will be able to get you back up and running within an hour of us arriving.
As there are gummy deposits and water in the petrol, the job is more complicated as the entire system is going to have to be thoroughly cleaned through to remove all of the remnants of the dodgy fuel. As the job is more complex, you need a reputable company that is going to do the job correctly and make sure that you don’t have any further complications down the line.