What is the exact Color of Gasoline? It is straw-colored and has a strong smell. Why would the color of gasoline matter when it is uniform everywhere? Well, it does differ as there are different types and grades of gasoline.
What is the Original Color of Gasoline?
Gasoline is a fossil fuel that is dark brown or black when mined. The crude oil is boiled and by-products are distilled off the black part is tar and grease. The refined gasoline is crystal clear and colorless like water. The manufacturers put dyes in the gasoline to differentiate it by octane ratings.
Octane rating or number is the standard measure of performance of the aviation or engine gasoline. The higher the octane rating the more compression the gas withstands before detonating. It is the measure of the fuels ability to resist pinging or knocking during combustion before the air-fuel mix detonates in the engine.
In the US, the octane rating of unleaded gasoline is 87 for regular (greenish-blue color), 88- 90 for midgrade (yellowish color), and 91-94 for premium (pinkish color) quality fuel. Each of these ratings has its color but it depends upon the additives.
What Do These Color Grades Mean?
Gasoline is dyed for various purposes. Red gasoline is meant for off-road vehicles, blue gas is for aviation and race cars. Regular unleaded gasoline is greenish-blue in color. Midgrade gasoline is yellowish to transparent. High octane gasoline is pinkish.
Fuel is dyed for another reason – dyed fuels indicate untaxed fuel while white or clear fuel is taxed. Soluble dyes are added to the fuel such as the diazo dyes like solvent red 19, 24, and 26. Anthraquinone dyes color the fuel green and blue using Solvent Green 33, Solvent Blue 35, and 26.
But this is not a standard thus you may find gasoline colored with various dyes. Some even have additives, stabilizers, etc. The vehicles licensed by the state use clear gasoline with some amount of Sulphur.
Does the Color of Gasoline Matter?
The color of the gasoline does not matter if it is freshly pumped. This gasoline has water-like transparency irrespective of the dye added. But stored gasoline gets a color due to oxidation. The color changes from transparent to yellow to brownish.
The smell of the gasoline changes – from the strong odor that you smell at the gas stations it turns rancid to smell like rotten fruits. This dark color gasoline is not good for your car. As it is oxidized the octane rating is affected and it also causes problems like poor acceleration, ignition problems, diminished performance, and engine damage.
When putting gas into your car use regular or premium rating gasoline. The primary difference is octane rating – In the US it is called the Anti-Knock Index (AKI), in other parts of the world it is called the Research Octane Number (RON) or Motor Octane Number (MON). The AKI is lower by 6 – 6 octane numbers that the other two.
Is Using Premium Rating Fuel Imperative?
Not necessarily – it depends on the type of vehicle you are driving. If the car manufacturer recommends the regular fuel this means the engine has been tuned to withstand these conditions. There is no use of wasting money by filling premium rating fuel.
Using premium-grade fuel in a regular car will boost the performance but nothing noteworthy. Besides, it is a myth that premium rating fuel is cleaner than regular fuel.
In high-performance vehicles, using the premium grade fuel is the only way to squeeze out every single drop of performance from its engine. Using regular rating fuel will destroy the engine and cause slower acceleration and loss of performance.
It is always right to consult the user manual and use the grade of fuel recommended there and stamped inside the fuel the door of the vehicle. Choosing the right octane rating will help you chose the right color of the fuel too.
Testing the Quality of Gasoline
Testing the fuel for purity does not require a laboratory or equipment. You can test the quality of the gasoline at the gas station. After you have checked the quality of the fuel in this manner only then put it in the tank. The quality of gasoline depends upon the ingredients added to it. You can run tests to check if you have the right gasoline for your car. This small process eliminates unnecessary complications and issues with the car.
One simple method is – pour some gasoline on any surface. High-quality gasoline will evaporate instantly. If you note a lot of dust left behind after evaporation then change the company you buy the gas from. If there is a greasy residue then it means diesel has been mixed into the gasoline.
To check for water in the gasoline – simply pour some gasoline in a cup before you put it into the gas tank. If you see two levels – oil is immiscible in water – his means water has been added to the gas. Oil is lighter than water, thus it will float on water. You can even dip your finger in to touch it to feel the wetness to ensure it is water. Do not put this contaminated fuel in the car this will cause rusting and other damage to the car. The fuel should not split into these layers to be beneficial to your vehicle.
To check for alcohol – Take a graduated cylinder of 50mm. Fill it with 10mm of gasoline, add 2mm of water to it. Cover the cylinder and shake it. Leave it for 15 minutes. The two layers should settle down. You will see water separate from the gasoline. But if the layer of water is more than 2mm – that is the amount you added – then there is alcohol in the gasoline.
Gasoline Can Colors
Besides the gasoline color, there are color-coded gasoline tanks too. The colors of these portable cans distinguish the purpose of the fuel in the container. These portable fuel containers may be jerry cans, gas cans, etc.
The United States Environmental Agency has set requirements and regulations for these fuels. The Red containers are used for highly flammable liquids and gasoline. The Yellow containers are for diesel. Green cans are used to store oil. Blue containers indicate the fuel is kerosene.
The EPA also recommends the design and structure of the can for better and secure handling of the fuel. The container has a self-venting single opening. The material should be permeation resistant and have a nozzle that closes automatically when the fuel is not being poured from the container.
The color of the gasoline depends upon the additives otherwise it is clear as water. it is colored to indicate its octane rating and purpose. Before you use any type of gasoline on your automobile ensure you read the instructions in its manual. The fuel plug on the gas tank has the fuel type printed on the inside of the plug. To prevent damage to your vehicle and get optimum performance use only the fuel recommended by the maker. If you buy stored gasoline find out when it was stored and check for contaminants. If you are buying a container then check the date and the color to ensure you fill the right fuel in the car. It is prudent to know what color is gasoline to get the right kind depending upon your purpose.