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Bad gas?

Is there such a thing as bad gas?

Right after I filled up my car, it sputtered, idled roughly, and wouldn’t accelerate unless I punched it.

What to do, what to do?

Yes you can get bad gas, but there are other possibilities.

What make model and year car do you have?

Was that your regular station or one out in the middle of nowhere that you have never visited before?

Have you checked to make sure you gas cap is on properly?

Did you get a car wash with that gas? Was it raining?

When was the last time you replaced your fuel filter? Air filter? Plugs? Plug wires?

'91 Honda Accord, first time at this gas station, no rain or wash, quite a while since tune up or filter replacement.
A week later and the symptoms persist; it runs crummy. I continue to suspect the gas. I think the gas was 83 octane and I’m used to 87. I added a can of SeaFoam stuff that cleans the injectors without result so far.

Frankly that does not sound like low octane or bad gas. As for 83 octane gas, I am not sure you could find that in the US today. It would have to come that way from the refiner and the same fuel would have shown up at many stations including different brands. The lowest octane generally available in the US is 85 and that is usually only available at high altitudes.

I suggest you start with the basics. Fuel and air filters, plugs and wires. I doubt that additives are going to fix the problem.

If you are behind on regular maintenance (that includes all of the above) do that first; it will save you money in the long run.

If you really believe it is octane, then I believe octane boosters are still available at the auto parts stores, but I think you would be better off buying plugs wires filters and likely oil and oil filter as well.

I agree, these are not symptoms of too low octane rating. Low octane gas pings (sort of a crackling sound) when the engine is under a high load like full throttle acceleration or climbing a steep hill. Low octane gas idles and runs just fine at low throttle openings.

Low octane rating isn’t the only way that gas can be bad however.

The fuel filter is under the hood. Not difficult to change. For Honda problems (in particular) go here: htttp://

The fuel filter is under the hood.

The filter on the 87 Accord wasn’t bad…The one on my wifes 96 Accord DX was a nightmare. It was buried. I couldn’t even get a hand on it. Hopefully the 91 was more like the 96.

There was a gas station in Manchester NH that was shut down because the owner was putting used motor oil in the gas holding tanks.

You bet there is such a thing as bad gas. The most common contaminant is water, but there can be lots of things in gasoline. If you read the EPA and California state enforcement actions postings (I do because I am an environmental engineer) you periodically see a station getting busted for taking waste industrial solvents and blending them in with their gasoline. This is highly lucrative because the person getting rid of the hazardous waste gets rid of it for free, the gas station owner gets to sell fuel that cost him nothing for $4 a gallon, and because the gas stations pay tax on fuel delivered, not fuel sold, the station owner gets to pocket the taxes collected on these extra gallons. If the waste is benzene or toluene, it burns great and no one complains. If there are chlorinated solvents in there, it is like spraying a fire extinguisher in your air intake, and the acids formed in combustion eat your exhaust system.

If I were you, I would file a report with the State. If yours was an isolated occurrence, nothing will come of it. If multiple people file reports involving the same station, the State will look into it.

Might the usual disposal of benzene, toluene, and similar compounds, mixed with gasoline, be a safe, effective, efficient, acceptable method of disposal? The cost of the blend could be reduced from the price of “pure” gasoline? (Just trying to think outside the circle, you know.)

Yep, you certainly can get a bad tank of fuel. It wasn’t a BP station by any chance was it?

Back in '81 I had my new Olds diesel and filled up at a truck stop in Des Moines 200 miles from home. After about 60 miles I was down to a top speed of about 35 miles, then hobbled home at about 25 MPH. Fuel filter was all plugged. Changed filters about every couple thousand miles for a while but finally had to take the tank down and drain it. It was totally full of gunk and water and never would have gotten cleaned out. After that no problem.

I don’t think it was an octane problem, but it sure could be a contaminant problem.

I rented a pontoon boat at a state park from a state marina a week ago last Saturday. It started raining while we were out, so we turned back. The outboard motor sputtered and quit. The motor wouldn’t restart with continued cranking. I paid a another boat $20 to tow us back to the marina because the attendant that took emergency calls was away from his desk. The mechanic at the marina drained the filter and found it had water in it. He then started the motor on the auxilliary tank. The dock attendants claimed that rain water got into the tank. I picked up the tank, shook it, turned it over and asked them how, if gasoline couldn’t leak out, how rain water could get in. I told them that water was probably getting into the gasoline that was coming from their own pump. I’ve had outboard motors and we’ve left them out in the rain with no problems. The attendants claimed that this wasn’t possible, but I told them that I’d bet they would have others come back with the same problem. I finally convinced them that I shouldn’t have to pay for the gasoline, since it was water anyway. I’m just glad that the attendants don’t read this bulletin board and see the posting that read “burn water instead of gas”.

Not BP. It was a Freedom station. I don’t know who owns them.
I’ll look at the fuel filter, per suggestions; that may tell me something.

I, too, suspect some hanky panky, mainly because the symptoms started immediately after I filled up, and the tank had been nearly empty. I don’t know who at the State to file a report with (the State is so BIG), but I filed with the BBB in case they get multiple complaints.

If there are any significant amounts of clorinated hydrocarbons in your gas, the people behind you will be coughing and gagging and won’t be able to keep their eyes open. Burning that stuff creates hydrocloric acid, phosgene, and other nasty stuff.
Benzine, toluene, xylene, etc., doesn’t gasoline already contain some of that naturally?