scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: White Gas... no flames please!
Fri Aug 04 2000 - 07:27:57 CDT
White gas in an automobile? Of course. The term "white" only means that it
has no additives... especially lead. It usually has an octane around 86 or
so and consequently is completely fine in your car. As for shelf life in a
tightly closed can, I would say almost indefinite. I opened up a bottle
almost twenty years after I last closed the lid, and it smelled "OK" (good
indication) as well as worked fine in my Svea. The problem with gas, as with
almost all petroleum products, is that some parts of it evaporate faster
than other parts of it. In Science speak, the various components of this
solution have different vapor pressures, thereby creating a differential (or
fractional) evaporation. This is why gas smells "funny" after it has sat for
a long period of time in an imperfect container (like your lawn mower's gas
tank). The most aromatic parts of it (which gives it that tremendous
ambiance), are gone first leaving the heavier parts behind (ohhhh that
stink!). IF, (that's a big "IF" and NOT a big BUT!) you have a container
that completely stops any and all evaporation, your gas will last a long
time. However, air in the container is always a problem (and of course, more
air = bigger problem), as gasoline can react with both Nitrogen and Oxygen
to form other compounds which will probably NOT exhibit ideal properties.
However, if the container is truly sealed, condensation is not a problem,
since there is no continual migration of moisture ladened air into the
BTW, Octane is a measure of how SLOW gasoline will burn. It is determined by
the number and complexity of the branches in the hydrocarbon molecule. The
more complex the molecule, the slower it will burn. That pinging sound you
hear is the gasoline prematurely exploding in your car's engine. Putting in
a slower burning substance (higher octane) will reduce and or eliminate it.
If that is a problem though, ignition timing, gas/air mixture ratio as well
as engine temperature should also be checked. Lower octane gas actually has
more power per molecule... it just becomes counter productive if you have
pinging. So, use the lowest octane you can without pinging for the best gas
mileage possible (also, INFLATE THEM THAR TIRES!!!). No, I am not a
scientist, and have not played one on TV. I am, however, an ASE certified
Master Automotive Technician, and I have learned a thing or two about gas
(still learning though) and I do enjoy the science of it as well.
Most importantly though, when you have bad gas, use Digel, or at least blame
it on the other guy...
I used to be a Bobwhite... NECS-59
I used to be a Knot-Head... SSD-20
Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner
Central Florida Council, Semoran Springs District