Should gas cans be vented when stored?

Ah, the inexhaustible topic of gasoline storage. It seems like there’s no end to it, right? There’s a good reason why this issue is coming up so often. People want to be informed and safe – that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Also, there are far too many things one must pay attention to when storing gasoline.

One of those things is, of course, the question of whether gas cans should be vented when stored. It’s probably one of the most commonly asked about issues out there. If a couple of folks are talking about gasoline storage, that is.

To put it simply: no, there’s no need to vent stored gas cans. Models made from 2009 until now are good at handling the pressure inside the cans. Older models came with a separate vent hole. Even though it made gas-sipping easier, it’s a security risk. Also, venting a container will only make the gas inside spoil faster.

If you’re curious about whether we can further elaborate on this, check out the article below. Also, we’ll probably wander off into other topics related to gasoline storage. Stick around for some helpful info!

Table of Contents

Gasoline storage 101 (FAQ)

Let’s see what do folks usually ask when this topic comes up. In other words: when they’re interested in storing gasoline in and around their homes. A quick tip: never store gasoline inside your home. Got it? Alright, let’s begin.

Is storing gasoline dangerous?

It can be. Also, it shouldn’t be. Wow, we’re getting quite good at answering questions like a hooded mystic. Corny humor aside, gasoline storage is a pretty delicate task to handle. That’s because it’s very dangerous to store gasoline improperly.

As you probably know already, gasoline is highly flammable. Even a tiny spark can create a catastrophe. That’s why you never see anyone smoking near a gas station. Anyway, make sure you store your gasoline in the proper manner.

How to properly store gasoline?

It’s very important you store gasoline only in approved containers. They’re usually made from HDPE (High-density polyethylene). Also, avoid using plastic bottles or milk jugs, or something even worse. Gasoline can easily melt through plastic, and you don’t want to handle the spills. Believe us.

How to dispose of gasoline?

First things first, locate the nearest disposal area for hazardous waste. Also, you’ll need to carry the gasoline in government-approved sealed containers. Before you head for the dump, clean up any spills that might’ve appeared. Lastly, transport the gasoline to the disposal center.

Are there any limits on gasoline storage?

Of course, there are. How many gallons of gasoline can a person store depends on local laws. For example, in NYC you’re allowed to store 2.5 gallons per home. On the other hand, in some rural areas, you can even store up to two dozen gallons.

Can gasoline go bad?

Yup, gasoline gets worse with age. How long can it stay in storage before it spoils depends on the type. We can differentiate:

  • Pure gasoline. This type of gasoline usually goes bad after three to six months.
  • Ethanol-blended gasoline. It can last about two to three months.
  • Fuel-stabilized gasoline. Currently holds a record in shelf life: it can last from one to three years in storage.

Bad gasoline doesn’t necessarily mean unusable gasoline. Spoiled gas isn’t as potent as its fresh twin. Also, it can sometimes damage the device that’s running on it. If you’re wondering how to test for bad gasoline, don’t hesitate to click here.

Can I store gasoline in the basement?

That is absolutely prohibited. Store gasoline at least 50 feet away from your living spaces. An outside shed or garage will do the trick. Just make sure they’re not too close to the house you live in. Also, you’ll want to store your gasoline away from any potential heat sources. Keep it away from the path of direct sun.

Even gasoline vapor could be set on fire. Not to mention the toxicity of breathing in the air mixed with it. Those are reasons enough to keep away from where your family’s living. For more tips on safe gasoline storage, visit this page.

Okay, so now we’ve come to the main question of this article. Let’s check it out.

A red gas can with its own vent system.


Should gas cans be vented when stored?

Before we answer this question, it might be best to see some information concerning gas cans. We’ll explain their role in the safe storage of gasoline. As you can predict, their role is one of a crucial kind. Also, we’ll comment on some basic facts about vents, and their purpose.

Types of gas cans

There are two types of gas cans: standard and safety. Which ones are more practical depends on who’s using them. Let’s see their other characteristics:

  • Standard gas cans. These you’ll mostly see in residential area-garages and sheds. They’re usually made out of plastic (HDPE), although you’ll also stumble upon some metal ones.
  • Safety gas cans. These cans self-vent when they’re exposed to heat, or even worse – fire. Their lid is made to ensure the prevention of leaking. Also, it’s made to relieve pressure once the temperature in the room rises. Safety gas cans are made to fit all security standards and are mostly used by big businesses.

Which ones are safer: plastic or metal gas cans?

Most experts would agree metal gas cans are the safer option. Also, an average person could intuitively come to the same conclusion.

Not all plastic cans are made from HDPE. As we’ve mentioned earlier, gasoline can melt through plastic after a certain period. Most folks buy plastic gas cans since they’re more affordable.

Do all gas cans come with a separate vent?

Now that we’ve seen different types of gas cans, let’s check out if they share something in common.

Back in the day, most gas cans had separate vents. Nowadays, most have a single, self-venting hole.

What’s exactly the purpose of a vent?

Vents are there to help liquids or gases flow in and out of the container they’re attached to. Not so long ago, a separate vent was in charge of releasing any air that entered while pouring. A slight decrease in pressure enabled the steady flow of gasoline. Nowadays, as we’ve mentioned, most gas cans sport a single self-venting opening.

So, should you vent stored gasoline?

The answer isn’t that simple, but it’s more of a NO.

Pressure in an unvented container can make the gasoline container expand. When the temperature rises, that is. During colder periods, the can will shrink. Gas cans made from 2009 until now are designed to withstand these turbulences.

So, yeah, it’s best to keep your stored gasoline cans tightly sealed. Don’t forget to fill them just to the tip of the so-called fill line.

Will venting also ruin stored gasoline?

It probably will. That’s another reason why should you avoid venting the gas cans.

Aren’t unvented gas cans a security risk? Can they self-combust?

Most gasoline can-related explosions occurred when a fire source was involved. Gasoline cans made from 2009 until now are carefully designed to withstand pressure. There are almost zero chances of your tightly-closed gas exploding. 

Wait, what happened in 2009?

In 2009, EPA banned the manufacture and use of old gas can models. The acronym stands for Environmental Protection Agency. Banned models were the ones that came with a separate ventilation hole.

Some folks preferred the older models. They mention that back then it was much easier to sip gasoline. An average person wasn’t spilling so much gasoline, they say. It’s true that newer models aren’t so practical. But, as we all know, safety always comes first!

Let’s do a recap

Alright, we’re nearing the end of this article. As always, it’s time to do a quick checkup.

Gasoline storage 101: What’s there to know?

Let’s remember the proper way of storing gasoline:

  • Store your gasoline only in approved containers. It’s very important you don’t go DIY and use milk jugs or something.
  • Dispose of it in a manner proposed by the local government. Find out where your nearest hazard disposal area is.
  • Check the local laws on gasoline storage limits. These laws can differ greatly from state to state.
  • Never store it inside the object you’re living in. An outside shed or garage will do the trick.

Now that we’ve mentioned that, let’s see what was our main topic for today.

Should gas cans be vented when stored?

To put it simply: nope. Since 2009 gas cans come without a separate ventilation opening. Nowadays, the gas cans need to be tightly sealed. Not only is venting gas cans a security risk, but the same action causes your gas to spoil.

Newer gas can models come with a single, self-venting opening. Even though you’ll probably spill a little gas, safety comes first!

Final thoughts

That’s about it for today’s topic, folks. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. These tips will make your home a safer place. Sorry if that sounds kind of pretentious. Anyway, make sure you do everything that’s in your power to ensure yourself a hazard-free home. For more tips on safe gasoline storage, check out this page.