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Coleman Stove Fuel Lasts About One Year

Q. What is the shelf life (or garage life) of Coleman fuel? The folks at the local outdoor club say that I should get fresh fuel each season. How can I tell if the fuel I am buying is fresher than what I already have? Also, can I use the old fuel in my lawn mower?

Jon Bickham

Gear Guy: About a year, Jon, maybe less. The stuff starts to turn to shellac after that, and can gum up the burner jet in your stove. It’s apt to do the same to your lawn mower (that’s if it would work at all, which I doubt), so your only good choice is to find some way to dispose of it safely and cleanly. Because of liquid fuel’s short shelf life, I find it best to buy it in small quantities. That costs more, but results in less waste and better stove performance.

One thing I’ve never tried with camp fuel is an additive that prevents gasoline from breaking down. Hardware store carry several makes of this stuff, and I use one in the gasoline for my lawn mower and chainsaw. Doesn’t seem to hurt THEM any, so I expect it would be OK for a stove. Anybody out there done any research on this subject? If so, drop me a line.


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