Back in 2001 I bought a gas-powered generator for emergency use. Aside from testing it out back then and starting it up a couple of times since then, it has sat in the garage. Over time it had become sort of a table on which I stacked various items that I was too lazy to put away.
I did want the generator ready for use, so sometime in 2003 I filled it up with five gallons of gas treated with Sta-Bil according to the directions on the bottle. I then started the generator and ran it for a few minutes before turning off the fuelcock and letting the engine starve to a stop. I think I have done the start-up, starve-off routine a couple of times since then. Like I said, I've been a bit lazy and have not run the generator on a regular basis.
Since 2003 I have tapped into the tank when I needed gas for the lawn mower and did not want to go to the gas station. I would just disconnect the fuel line and drain half a gallon into a gas can. No problems running the lawn mower off the preserved gas. I think the last time I took gas out for the mower was about three years ago. Since then I have stacked too many things on and around the generator to easily get to the fuel line.
Last weekend a friend called and wanted to borrow my generator. He was going camping with his travel trailer and wanted to be able to run his coffee maker and air conditioning. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about agreeing, only because I was afraid the generator might not start after sitting for so long with gas from 2003. I was thinking that I would have to empty the tank and put in fresh gas just to see if it would run.
After digging out the generator and pulling it outside the garage, I dusted it off, checked the oil, then removed the gas cap and smelled the gas. Didn't smell "gas pump" fresh, but didn't have a varnishy smell, either. I put the cap back on, turned the fuelcock on, and set the choke. Two pulls was all it took to start the generator. Turned the choke off and the engine ran as smoothly as the day I brought it home. After checking for power output I shut it down and helped my friend load the generator into his truck a few minutes later.
After my friend returned from his camping trip I asked him how the generator ran. He said that he had run it under the load of the coffee maker, air conditioning unit, and a hair dryer using the old gas that I had in the tank, and that it had run steady without any hint that it was struggling under load.
Although Sta-Bil's label says that it preserves gas for up to two years, it appears that it is effective for far longer. I obtained satisfactory results after seven years of storage under conditions ranging from twenty degrees below zero in the winter to over a hundred degrees in the summer. I had been planning on buying Pri-G for preserving gasoline, but had always hesitated because of the high cost. Based upon my experience using Sta-Bil I am convinced that it is more than adequate for my gasoline storage needs over the long term, is readily available, and is quite affordable.
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