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Disposing of used gasoline: What you need to know!

Disposing of used gasoline is not difficult and usually costs nothing for private consumers. However, there are strict regulations for the disposal of used gasoline, brake fluid, etc., which you must adhere to. This article tells you everything you need to know about disposing of used gasoline. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Disposing of used gasoline: These are the requirements

  • Whether it’s used diesel or gasoline, oil, brake fluid, coolant, additives, you can only dispose of these liquids if you comply with strict regulations.
  • This is because all these liquids contain hazardous chemical substances and are therefore classified as hazardous materials.
  • Due to the high risk to the environment, these liquids must not end up in the residual waste.
  • Even the storage of used oil & Co. is subject to strict regulations.
  • You should therefore also dispose of empty gasoline, brake fluid, coolant, and oil canisters correctly.

Did you know that? With just one liter of used gasoline, you can contaminate a million liters of groundwater! You don’t even want to imagine what you are doing with this. Because not only your fellow men are affected – also the plant and animal world is endangered. For this reason, the legislator is not joking – and you are threatened with fat penalties if you dispose of waste oil or diesel incorrectly, for example.

Incorrect disposal of used oil

Carelessly dispose of your used oil can cost a penalty. The fines due vary from state to state. However, all fines are aimed at the same thing: It’s about making sure that environmental regulations are strictly adhered to.

  • Accordingly, it is generally prohibited to throw away, bury, dump or burn used oil.
  • Depending on the state, it is even prohibited to store oil (regardless of the quantity).
  • It is banned to dispose of the used oil in the drain.
  • It is banned to dispose of used oil that gets into the groundwater.
  • There are also hefty fines for surface waters (rivers, lakes, etc.).

Dispose of used oil correctly

For the correct disposal of used oil, you should absolutely observe the following things:

  • Waste gasoline should be disposed of at a designated waste oil collection point.
  • You should make sure that you do not mix the hazardous substances: in other words, make sure that you only hand in pure used oil – and not mixed additives, brake fluid residues and the like.
  • Make sure you use suitable containers.
  • They should be suitable for transporting and storing hazardous substances.
  • This requires that they are neither damaged nor leaky.
How to dispose of gasoline

How to dispose of old gasoline: a step-by-step guide

Different communities often have different rules when it comes to disposing of harmful compounds like gasoline. Check with local authorities to see if there are any special rules for disposing of old gasoline before you get started.

Except for regional variations, you can generally follow the steps below to dispose of used gasoline:

  • Step 1:

Pour the gasoline into a clear container to inspect it before disposal. If the gasoline was left outside, it may have simply been diluted with water. You don’t need to know how to dispose of gasoline with water because they separate easily and the gas rises to the top. Let it settle and then carefully pour the gasoline into another container. Pour out the remaining water through a cloth. This will catch the last traces of gasoline and the remaining water can be poured down the drain. Pour the resulting gasoline back into the engine. It may run normally. If not, proceed to step 2.

  • Step 2:

If the gasoline is dirty or unusable, drain it into a disposable jug approved for gasoline. You can use a funnel to make pouring easier. Many recycling centers require you to leave the gas can along with the gas, so a less expensive disposable model is often a good option.

  • Step 3:

Determine where you can take the gas to safely recycle or dispose of it. You usually have several options:

Recycling centers: some communities offer gasoline recycling through their recycling centers. If so, it is usually limited to a few centers or a certain day or time of year. Check with your local government for details.

Local fire department: some fire departments recycle old gasoline. If not, they can probably tell you the best option for your area.

Hazardous waste recycling centers: these are also public facilities. The main difference between these centers and recycling centers is that recycling centers do not recycle or dispose of gasoline. Again, be sure to call ahead, as some centers only accept gasoline at certain times, while others have a maximum amount they can accept during any time period. You may also have to pay for recycling service, so find out in advance.

Paid recycling service: In some areas, there are services that will pick up your old gasoline directly from your home. The fees for these services are usually quite high, so unless you have a lot of old gasoline piled up that you need to get rid of, it’s probably not worth it.

Municipal recycling events: Some cities hold regular recycling events to encourage residents to recycle. Check the community events calendar to see if there is an event in your area and when the next one is.

Auto repair shop: Mechanics already have many hazardous fluids to dispose of, such as old oil, transmission fluid, and other fluids they drain from their serviced vehicles. Many stores will gladly put your old gasoline in the trash for free. As with other services, before you walk into a repair shop with a gas can in hand, call and make sure the shop offers this service.

  • Step 4:

If you cannot take the gas for recycling or disposal immediately, seal the container with a lid and store it in a cool, dark place. Make sure it is out of reach of children and animals.

Old gas does not burn as easily, but it is still not potable. If the lid is securely closed, old gasoline can be stored indefinitely, so don’t be in a hurry if you can’t dispose of it right away.


Can you dump old gas on the ground?

The car starts poorly or not at all, accelerates significantly worse and the engine bucks.

Can I burn old gas?

You’re doing the best thing by diluting it and burning it in your mowers and truck. Most times this will not cause a problem. The worst stuff can be sent to your local hazardous waste disposal program if you have one. But if you live out in the country you can burn only a small quantity.

Can old gasoline be used?

You can reuse gasoline by diluting it with fresh gas. However, if the leftover gasoline shows particles of rust, dirt, or discoloration, it may be contaminated. Do not reuse this fuel.

Removing and disposing old gas and coolant - Video

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

Hey, I’m David. I’ve worked in a cars store for 6 years. I write reviews and guides, helping people to choose the most suitable technicals and best product for them. I’m happy to finally share my knowledge of the industry here, on CarnesMechanical.

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