Many drivers are abandoning their vehicles for the safety of their homes. It’s safer to work from home, do grocery pick-up, and fill your recreational time with activities that allow you to stay 6 feet apart. According to Inrix.com, a major traffic analytics company based in Washington, road travel was down by 38% during March’s last week. Cars are sitting around, not being driven. If your vehicle isn’t being driven, the gas inside your fuel tank can become stale and start to degrade.
That leaves us wondering - why exactly does gas become stale? According to Greg Brannon, the Director of automotive engineering and industry relations for AAA, gasoline is a living chemical. Thus, with time, air, and condensation, it can break down and decompose. The lighter, volatile aspects of gas can evaporate, leaving the gas gummy in extreme cases. Gas can start to go bad after sitting for around three months. This gives room for alarm because if you were already a low mileage driver before the pandemic, that three-month time span might come quicker than expected if you aren’t regularly using your vehicle.
Fuel breakdown is dangerous for your vehicle. If you have old gasoline in your fuel tank, it can decrease engine power. A decrease in engine power will lead to your vehicle stalling and hesitating. In the worst-case scenarios, your vehicle may not start altogether. The best ways to prevent this from occurring is to add fuel stabilizer and keep your fuel tank full. Keeping a full tank of gas prevents oxygen from getting inside. The less oxygen, the less likely the gasoline’s necessary volatile chemicals evaporate. Adding a Fuel stabilizer is a great way to prevent the gas from degrading over time as well. It doesn’t fix gas that’s already stale, but it can prevent the gas from deteriorating any further than it already has.