How fresh is that fuel? | Fuel Tips

Staff
By Staff Writer
Jul 29, 2022 | Sunoco, Fuel Tips, fuel, gas, gasoline | Posted in News and Notes | From the Oct. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Perry Bennett

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A common question Sunoco’s Race Fuel department receives: Is this fuel fresh?

The short answer is often yes, but as explained by Zachary J. Santner, senior specialist of quality at Sunoco, the full reply is usually longer. Don’t worry, he notes, the longer reply delivers the same answer: The fuel is fresh.

Sunoco usually sells its race fuels via pumps, 5-gallon pails and 54-gallon drums. The pumps can be found at select tracks and dealers–GRM can access them locally at Daytona International Speedway–while smaller outlets tend to carry the pails and drums.

The usual reason for the above question: the date marked on those pails and drums. These containers must meet U.N. packing requirements, meaning their year of manufacture must be stated on their certification label. “The pails are made well in advance” of the fuel, Santner notes, adding that pails and drums are often filled by regional distributors. They have the experience and hardware needed for the filling operation, he continues, including the special tools for properly sealing the containers. 

We don’t have much concern because the fuels are so stable,” he continues. Just how stable? Sunoco says most of its fuels have a shelf life in excess of one or two years when properly stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry location. Check the product’s description for the specifics. “In the real world,” Santner notes, “your garage or shed is fine.”

To test that shelf life, Sunoco places containers of fuel in less than ideal conditions–like out in the elements for two years in Pennsylvania–and regularly checks the specs. “We get all the seasons,” he notes. 

Santner offers an additional storage tip: Keep that cap tightly closed. A loose cap–or even drum pump–can allow the vapors to escape, causing the fuel to go stale. As long as the container remains tightly sealed, he explains, any vapors will condense back into a liquid phase, maintaining the fuel’s freshness.

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Daniel Wise
Daniel Wise New Reader
7/28/22 1:20 p.m.

"Santner offers an additional storage tip: Keep that cap tightly closed. A loose cap–or even drum pump–can allow the vapors to escape, causing the fuel to go stale. As long as the container remains tightly sealed, he explains, any vapors will condense back into a liquid phase, maintaining the fuel’s freshness."

The above is extremely important.  The larger drums, 30 and 55 gallon drums may not always seal up vapor tight.  That means as the temperature changes the drum "breathes" through the drum bung plug.  If there is standing water on the top of the drum, it will get sucked into the drum when the weather cools off and your fuel is now contaminated.  Make sure the bung is tight and the top of the drum is covered to prevent standing water accumulation.  Personal experience.

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