What is the Color of Gasoline? [Depend on Grade & Additives]

Gasoline is an important commodity that powers many machines including your car. It might not have caught your attention before, but what is the color of gasoline? It might not seem important, but understanding the gasoline color can save you avoid filling with the wrong fuel type sometimes.

The commercially available gasoline will have a slight yellow color. In certain lighting, some might describe it as slightly green or orange.

Before any treatment, gasoline is a clear liquid. However, dyes are often added to give gasoline its distinctive color.

So, depending on the Grade of the Gasoline and the Additives that have gone into the Fuel the color of Gasoline could be anything from a very light hue of Green to very transparent colorless with a yellow/gold hue.

Types of Gasoline You Should Know

Types of Gasoline You Should Know

It is estimated that the US alone used around 128 billion gallons of gasoline in 2020. It is expected that this would be more since there are no more lockdowns as of 2022.

With all this consumption, do you know what kind of gasoline you have in your vehicle, or do you just fuel with any option you get available?

There are three main types of gasoline. They include:

  1. Regular gasoline (87)

When you get to a gas station and see the pump with the 87, just know that is regular gasoline.

This type of gasoline has an octane rating of 87, hence the number. It is often recommended for those who drive normal cars that do not have high compressions.

This gasoline grade often has a yellow-to-green color due to the addition of green dye.

  1. Mid-grade gasoline (89)

The mid-grade gasoline has an octane rating of 89. Unlike regular gasoline, it is better at withstanding more compression. As such, it may not combust prematurely like regular gasoline.

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A yellow dye is added to the gas grade to give it a slight yellow color. It is hard to miss it.

  1. Premium gasoline (90+)

There is now premium gasoline with can have an octane rating of 90 or more. It depends on the gas station.

This gas type is made to withstand more pressure before igniting. It is for this reason that you can find it a good choice for engines with high compression. This can include race cars.

Looking at the premium gas, we find it mostly looks pink.

As much as we have mentioned that the different grades of gasoline might have different colors, at times they look almost similar because of lighting. So, the best way to understand which gas grade is which will be by reading the pump labels.

Also, the numbers on the gas pumps are usually big. It is hard to miss which type of gas you are using.

Why is Gasoline Color Important?

91% of the fuel drawn from gas pumps is for light-duty vehicles such as family cars and SUVs. We highly doubt that such people care about the color of gasoline.

So long as the gas is being filled straight from the pump, it should not be a big issue. You will always know it is fresh gas even if you do not care about the color.

However, things are different when gasoline is stored for a long time and now you want to use it. Gasoline does not stay fresh forever. Gasoline has a shelf life of around three to six months.

After six months in storage, gasoline starts to oxidize, break down, and change its color. Also, the smell can change too over time.

Freshly pumped gas has a strong odor, but that changes once it has been sitting in storage for too long. It can have a sour smell at times.

Once gas oxidizes, it changes color from yellow to a slightly brown color. If it stays further without being used, it can develop a dark color.

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Dark-colored gasoline should not be something you use. It can lead to poor performance, damage to the engine, and poor acceleration of the vehicle.

So, what do you do with bad fuel?

Start by checking the color of the fuel to ascertain whether it is bad or good. Sometimes the reflection of the storage container might make you think it is bad.

If it is bad fuel, have it disposed of properly to avoid harming the environment.

Here is a video on how to dispose of bad gasoline

YouTube video

Adding fuel stabilizers can help improve the lifespan of gasoline by up to three years. This depends on the storage containers and the storage conditions.

The use of fuel stabilizers can be good for those who might want to consider keeping their cars in storage for a while. A good example is those with race cars. Once the race event is over, the car has to go into storage.

Gasoline Storage and Color Coded Gas Cans

Gasoline Storage and Color Coded Gas Cans

In 2009, the EPA changed a lot of things around the use of portable fuel containers or PFCs. you now have to ensure that you get the right PFC to improve the overall safety of handling gasoline or any other fuel type.

During the regulation update, several things were changed including;

  • A PFC should have a single self-venting opening that will be used for filling or pouring the fuel. There should be no other openings or vents.
  • The container should also permeation-resistant. It should not permit more than 0.3grams per gallon per day of stored fuel.
  • Automatic closure is highly recommended on the container to keep the user safe while not pouring the fuel.
  • The PFC should also have childproof features as shown in the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act.

That being said, you might have noticed that fuel cans often have different colors. Each of the colors determines which fuel type should be stored in that container.

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The main colors of PFCs include red, blue, yellow, and green.

So what should you store in each colored container?

  • Red is meant for gasoline and other highly flammable fuels. Such containers are equipped with no-weld bottoms and have to comply with the OSHA and NFPA Code 30 requirements.
  • Blue is meant to store kerosene. As much as it is flammable, it is not as volatile as gasoline and diesel.
  • Yellow containers are for storing diesel. It also has to meet the same requirements as containers for storing gasoline. However, the difference in color is supposed to help you differentiate the different fuel types.
  • Green containers are for storing oils. Of course, oils are not flammable but are combustible. Still, proper storage of oil is important to avoid damage to the environment.

Types of Gas Cans

The main types of gas cans include metal and plastic gas cans. So, which one is better?

  1. Metal gas cans

Metal gas cansMetal gas cans are quite common and are loved for being durable. Expect them to be rugged and would last even when you used them often.

These gas cans would also have more capacity. In case you are going offroad and need more fuel while on the trail, the metal gas can be ideal.

The metal gas cans are non-permeable. This prevents the degradation of gasoline.


  • Durable
  • High Capacity
  • Non-permeable


  • Can be large and bulky
  • Can rust sometimes
  • Expensive than plastic gas cans
  1. Plastic gas cans

Plastic gas cans If the metal gas can is more expensive than what you would like, you can always opt for plastic gas cans. They are still easy to handle since they are light and less bulky than their metal counterparts.

Metal gas cans might explode when exposed to fire. As for plastic gas cans, they can melt in a fire but will not explode.


  • Are easy to handle
  • Can be less expensive than metal
  • Do not explode
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  • They are permeable
  • Gasoline can deteriorate its structural integrity over time

How to Test for Gasoline Quality

Contaminated or damaged gasoline can easily cause drivability problems. The worst part is when you have failures in your fuel system, which would have been avoided.

You may notice that people end up with poor gasoline quality since it is either adulterated or has gone bad. So, the question is, how do you test for gasoline quality before using it?

Checking the fuel quality before using can be done quite fast. You just have to go through the following methods.

  • Get the fuel sample you want to test. A graduated cylinder of up to 100ml should be good enough for the test.
  • Fill the graduated cylinder up to 90ml with fuel and then add 10ml of water. This should give you 100ml of a mixture of gasoline and water.
  • Add a sealed cover to the end of the cylinder and shake the contents for a minute or so. Once you are done shaking the cylinder, place it on a level surface and leave it for an hour or two before checking the results.

Water is heavier than gasoline, so we expect it to settle at the bottom of the cylinder after shaking. In case there was alcohol in the fuel, it means the water content will be more than the initial 10ml you had added.

Having too much alcohol in gasoline makes it bad. So, if the new water amount after shaking is more than 20ml, then replace that fuel as it is not good.


Is it ok to mix old gas with new gas?

You should not mix old gas with new gas. The main is that old gas keeps degrading, which is not good for your vehicle’s fuel system. It is best to consider replacing the old gas with new gas so that the car can run better without sputtering or any other related issues.

Will old gas hurt my car?

Yes, it is possible for old gas to hurt how the engine performs, affect the fuel system, and can easily clog the injectors. So, if you notice the car is running on bad gasoline, have it drained and put in fresh gasoline to keep the engine happy.

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What is the best way to store gas long-term?

The first thing you have to do is get yourself a proper gasoline PFC. Such a container is designed for the proper storage of gas. You can also add gasoline stabilizer additives to the fuel.

This prevents the natural deterioration of gasoline and can keep it fresh for longer. Ensure the storage tanks are also in a shed that is still well-ventilated.

What is the color of diesel?

Diesel comes in three main colors; clear, red-dyed, and blue-dyed. Each color is designated for certain uses. Clear diesel is for regular car use while red-dyed is for off-road use and blue-dyed diesel is just like the red-dyed type but would commonly be used by the U.S Government vehicles.


We always advise that you should take note of your gasoline color especially if it has been in storage for more than six months. You are better off using fresh gasoline rather than sticking to one that might damage your vehicle.

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