What color is gasoline?

Gasoline is one of many flammable liquids available for purchase. If you’re interested in What color is gasoline, or you’ve stocked up on some gasoline for your car or lawn mower and now don’t know what tank it’s in, this guide will teach you how to tell it through. color and smell!

In its natural, refined state, gasoline is clear or yellow in color. For safety reasons, commercial gasoline is painted pale yellow or blue.

How to identify gasoline?

People who just fill up their car with gas at a gas station may never have seen gas in person. It goes from the gas station terminal through the hose and into the gas tank.

Gasoline can only be filled in red tanks, but if you look at one, the color will be distorted by the red color of the barrel. However, there is a clever way to see the color of the gasoline in your car – through the fuel filter.

Some vehicles have a clear fuel filter that you can use to monitor its condition and the color of the fuel. Just open the hood and look inside the filter – if it’s empty while the engine is off, just run it in park mode and you’ll see gas come out.

Gasoline color and octane grade

Many sources state that octane rating and gasoline color are related, and that there are three main types:

  • Regular 87 octane gasoline is blue or green.
  • Midgrade / Plus 89-90 octane gasoline is yellow.
  • Premium 91-94 octane gasoline is pink.

I can’t test every petrol pump in the country to verify this information, but what I can tell you is it’s definitely not the norm.

In the United States, the only fuel color regulation concerns tax-exempt fuels used for heating, cooking, and general off-road applications. The internal filter allows the police to easily check if you are running on red fuel, which is against the law.

Since you usually can’t see the color of the fuel, it’s not necessary to paint the different octane ratings in a different color. I strongly suspect that the color matching stems from the color of the fuel injectors and not the color of the fuel itself.

What color is gasoline
What color is gasoline

ChrisFix on Youtube has tested different fuels and clearly shows the fuels from regular to premium. The light purple color comes from the table where the jars are located, but you can see that all four jars contain a clear liquid with a yellow tint.

How to identify gasoline by smell

Let me preface this by saying that inhaling gasoline is very dangerous. Gasoline vapor is extremely toxic to the human body, and although you should be safe in some exposures, breathing deeply can cause headaches and dizziness.

The smell of gasoline is produced by benzene and it is very unique. If you’ve caught the smell while refueling at a gas station, you’ll be enough to recognize it anywhere. It is a very strong scent reminiscent of pure alcohol, but there is another unpleasant note that makes it difficult to breathe.

Instead of determining what’s in the tube by looking at the color of the liquid, the smell will tell you it’s gasoline as soon as you open the cap. Knowing what gasoline smells like can be helpful in case your engine oil gets mixed up with gasoline.

How to Identify Poor Gasoline

Gasoline has a surprisingly short shelf life of up to 6 months. Life can be greatly extended thanks to a variety of fuel stabilizers, but once it fails it should not be used in any application.

Gasoline breaks down over time through oxidation and evaporation. You will notice the gasoline smell is much weaker and you may even be able to breathe normally around it, although you should still be careful!

The color of the gasoline will also change accordingly. The original transparent color with a hint of yellow will lose its clarity and as the degradation continues, it will darken. You will notice deposits on the bottom of the barrel as the color turns dark red and brown.

Dirty gasoline should be disposed of safely at a recycling facility. Since it loses most of its energy, it is not suitable for internal combustion and it can contaminate the fuel tank, fuel lines, injectors and other components.

Frequently asked questions

What is blue fuel?

Diesel is usually blue or green, which sets it apart from other fuels. It also looks thicker than gasoline and has a different, weaker smell.

Is gasoline dyed?

Depending on the refining process, gasoline may come out completely transparent, in which case it is dyed. However, it is mainly yellow and is not dyed further. In the US there is no regulation on fuel dying, other than turning red for off-road fuel to make it easy to distinguish.

What is red gasoline?

Red gasoline, but more commonly red diesel, is a common fuel painted red to designate it for non-driving applications. Fuel used to power vehicles is taxed to maintain roads and the environment, but the same fuel can be used to power agricultural equipment and for basic needs such as cooking or heating.

US regulations separate both on price and color, to prevent people from driving with red gasoline.

Fuel is green?

Diesel is usually green, but it can also be blue. Some claim that green diesel fuel comes from renewable energy sources, but there is no correlation between biodiesel and green, as vintage crude refined diesel can also be green. .

Are jerry cans legal?

Yes, jerry cans are still legal and can be refilled at the gas station. Modern plastic canisters are color-coded, with red being gasoline, but as long as the box is right for the application, you can fill it with any fuel you want.

Does the fuel have an expiration date?

Fuel has a short lifespan and can become unusable after only a few months, even in a sealed container. Life can be increased to 24 months with fuel stabilizer.

Can gas cans explode in the sun?

The gas won’t explode in the sun, because it’s specially made to hold gasoline and withstand the pressure build-up from heat.

Can you mix old gas with new gas?

If old gasoline is not suitable for use, it will only spoil the amount of gasoline you add. However, a canister of gas that’s been out for a few months can still be good, and by mixing it with fresh gasoline, especially high-octane, you can get your car back up and running safely.

Can you pour gasoline down the drain?

Under no circumstances should you discharge gasoline or any other hazardous substances through the drain. Not only can it contaminate sewer water, but it is also illegal.

How do I get rid of bad gas in my car?

Pumping the air out is quite easy, you just need the right tools for the job. Get a manual fuel pump and use it to suck fuel from the tank into the fuel canister for disposal.


Now that you know that gasoline should be clear and yellow, you can easily tell and know when it’s gone bad. Using degraded gasoline can lead to some system damage inside the vehicle, so I recommend you dispose of it safely and refill with fresh gas.

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