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Draining your gas can

Most folks know to drain the fuel from lawn mowers. But have you thought about what's sitting in the gas can? Don't forget to winterize that, too.

Gas cans are virtually indestructible, but there's no guarantee that you'll always have fresh fuel, especially if it sits all winter.

Environmental protection specialist Ron Jensen says gasoline doesn't store well. If left in the can, it turns bad pretty fast, sometimes in as little as 60 days. It will happen more quickly depending on how the can is stored.

"Many people do not cover the gas can up properly," says Jensen. "When they open up the can, they have a cover that covers over the fill spout. But they also have the vent in the back and a lot of times that's left open. Once that vent is left open to air, the fuel starts to break down rather quickly."

Another key to extending fuel life in the gas can is to add a stabilizer right after you've filled it with fuel. It has to mix together immediately to keep the gas fresh.

Gas up the car

If you've drained the fuel out of the lawn mower back into the gas can, you definitely can't use it next year. Jensen says just dump it in your car. Go ahead. It won't hurt anything.

"People always get scared about dumping this fuel in their car because it's got oil in it. But there are a lot of products on the market that are actually two-stroke oil that help lubricate upper valve stems on cars," says Jensen. "But the amount of oil used in most products is only 2.6 ounces. That's hardly anything. If you were to add that to 12, 13, 14, or more gallons of gas in your car, it wouldn't even be noticed by the car at all."

Dispose of it properly

If you're not comfortable emptying your gas can into your car, just take the leftover to a gas station. A lot of places offer fuel disposal for a small charge.

Don't ever pour gas on the ground or down a drain. Not only are you risking contamination to the groundwater but also you could ignite a fire.

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