Can car gas evaporate?

Man holding a gas can and pushing a car.

Dealing with a Gas Emergency 

Maybe the only feeling worse than locking your keys in the car is realizing you’re running out of gas. You’re driving down the road and the car starts to putt-putt-putt, getting slower and slower until it just stops. Hopefully, you were able to pull over to a safe place and call for car gas service in time. 

Many of you reading this probably weren’t alive before roadside assistance was invented. Before that, if you had a gas can, you started walking to the nearest gas station. If you were lucky, somebody would stop and offer to help you take you to the car gas service station. 

Now, the question is, why did you run out of gas? Did you not see how low it was and stop to gas up? Or maybe you have a car and gas leak issue you didn’t know about. If you know what car gas smells like you may have known to get your car into the shop. So, what does car gas smell like? 

Identifying the Smell of Gas

Automobile gasoline contains approximately 150 chemicals, one being benzene. Benzene has such a strong odor to it that it can be smelled at 0.25 parts of gasoline for every million parts of air. To give aftershave a sweet aroma in the 1800s, benzene was added. But once scientists discovered it to cause cancer, it was no longer used. 

Let’s discuss how a car gas tank works and why car gas service is so important to how a car runs. The fuel systems used in cars today are more complex than the cars our parents and grandparents drove. First of all, they are all controlled by the ECU, (electronic control unit). The ECU is a small device that controls a specific function. To get car gas service with these, you want to take your car to a mechanic that is ASE trained and certified. 

The gas tank holds most of the gasoline for a car’s fuel system. You fill the tank through a small hole that seals up with a gas cap. The gas is processed through several steps before car gas services the engine, where it is needed. 

The steps are primarily the same for every car, with some differences depending on the engine and model of car. The steps include: 

  • The fuel pump pulls the gas out of the gas tank.
  • The fuel pump pushes the gas into metal fuel lines. 
  • The metal fuel lines take the gas to a fuel filter.
  • The fuel filter does what the name implies, filters the fuel.
  • Then the fuel is sent to the engine with the fuel pump still providing the force. 
  • Finally, the gas reaches the engine. But how does it get into the combustion chamber?

Carburetors were the component that took the gas into the combustion chamber of the engine for most of the 20th century. The carburetor would mix the gas with air to ignite the gas inside the combustion chamber. Today, that car gas service part of the process is done by fuel injection. 

There are mechanical fuel injected cars and electronic fuel injected cars, with the latter being more common. In either case, the ECU is the controlling component in cars, and many old school mechanics and car buffs aren’t a fan of the new way. More good comes from this process like better car gas engine efficiency and other car gas services are handled with software updates to the ECU. 

Why Car Exhaust Smells Like Gas – Are car gas leaks dangerous?

If your car smells like gas outside the motor, this is usually the air. It may mean the fuel ratio is off – in other words, the combustion chamber isn’t getting enough air or it’s getting too much fuel. The smell of gas fumes in or around are annoying, inconvenient, and in most cases, completely harmless. However, if you can locate where the gas smell is coming from and ascertain the cause, err to the side of caution and have it fixed. 

  • Gas Vapors and Spills Exposure

The fumes you get while pumping gas in your car will get inside the car when you open the door or roll a window down. Any gas that is spilled nearby will also be noticeable. However, if you believe the gas odor is coming from your car and it doesn’t disappear, take your car to a mechanic. 

  • Older Cars – Gas Smells

Any car made in the early 1980s will emit a slight gas smell once the car is turned off. This is called fuel afterboil and happens in the bowl of the carburetor. 

  • Gas Leaks

The fuel system of your car can have a number of places for gas leaks. Like a leaking fuel line, sometimes easily noticed by puddles under a parked car. A line to the fuel injection can start to leak, creating that smell of gas while you drive, or the fuel tank vent hose will sometimes leak. This will cause unburned gas to leave the fuel system in a vapor. You should see car gas services to have those leaks repaired because puddles of gas are a fire hazard.

  • Fuel Pressure Irregular

When the fuel pressure regulator goes bad, it will cause the gas to run too rich or too thin. This causes excess gas burning, making a strong gas fume presence from the exhaust and noticeable outside around the car. As the gas seeps into the ventilation system, the inside of your car will smell like gas. You want to get this car gas service to the fuel pressure regulator as quickly as possible.  

Nozzle being held to a gas tank.

A Final Question 

How long is car gas good for before it goes bad or evaporates? If you’re planning on storing gasoline for emergencies, you want to purchase the best car gas can possible. The better the can, the better gas will store. 

The shelf life of regular car gas service life is three to six months. Diesel on the other hand will last 1 year, while organic-based Ethanol can last 30 to 90 days before it loses its combustibility from evaporation and oxidation. Meanwhile, if you think you may be in need of car gas service in Festus, MO, reach out to the Pippin Towing & Recovery team at __PHONE__.