Can Gasoline Evaporate?

How is Gasoline made? What are its Components? Can Gasoline evaporate faster than Water? At what Temperature does Gasoline evaporate? How Long does it take to Evaporate? What if Gasoline is not evaporated?

Nowadays, we are shifting from gasoline to electrical vehicles. We are trying to be more eco-friendly. Edwin Drake dug the first crude oil well in Pennsylvania in 1859, distilled that oil, and produced kerosene, which he used for lightning purposes. At that time, gasoline was produced as a byproduct during distillation but was discarded as he had no use for it. Well, talking about gasoline you must have come across a situation when gasoline evaporate from gas tank, and you got confused about where it went. Moreover, you might wonder, can gasoline evaporate, really? If yes, how long does it take for gasoline to evaporate? Let’s begin and find it out!

1. How is Gasoline Made?

Basically, gasoline is obtained through the process of cat cracking or catalytic cracking. Intense heat about 537.78° Celsius (1000° Fahrenheit), a powdered catalyst for accelerating chemical reactions, and low pressure, are all combined in the catalytic cracking process. Through these processes, mostly heavy fractions get converted into smaller molecules of gasoline. (See How Is Gasoline Made From Oil?)

2. What are the Main Components of Gasoline?

It is a product derived from petroleum and is a mixture of aromatic hydrocarbons and liquid aliphatic. It has a range of C4 to C12 carbon atoms. Typically, the composition of gasoline hydrocarbons in volume percentage is,

  • Alkanes 4 to 8 %
  • Alkenes 2-5%
  • Aromatics (total) 20-50%
  • Benzene 0.5-2.5%
  • Cycloalkanes 3-7%
  • Cycloalkenes 1-4%
  • Isoalkanes 25-40%

3. Can Gasoline Evaporate?

Gasoline is a mixture of more than 150 chemical compounds that are refined from crude oil. It contains additives like Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) that affect the way it burns. Yes, gasoline has the tendency to convert into vapor as it comes into contact with air. Spilled gasoline in lakes, soil, etc., also gets evaporated. Must read about the Condensation Examples in Real Life.

4. Can Gasoline Evaporate Faster than Water?

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Yes, this is due to the difference in boiling points of both liquids. The boiling point of gasoline is between 37.78° Celsius and 204.44° Celsius (100° to 400° Fahrenheit), whereas the boiling point of water is 100° Celsius (212° Fahrenheit). The boiling point of water is higher because of the intermolecular bonding which is not seen in gasoline. Therefore, the intermolecular forces are weak, leading to faster evaporation of gasoline than water. (See What happens When Water Boils?)

5. At What Temperature does Gasoline Evaporate?

Evaporation of gasoline begins at a temperature as high as 140° Celsius (240° Fahrenheit). But the evaporation process speeds up with an increase in temperature and the process continues. (See What is the Temperature of Water at Room Temperature?)

6. How long does it Take for Gasoline to Evaporate?

The time taken for gasoline to evaporate can be as quickly as it can, depending on the temperature and air present there. After knowing how can gasoline evaporate faster, let’s discuss its tendency to evaporate on different surfaces. Because the evaporation time for gasoline is different on different surfaces, for example, wood and fabrics soaked in gasoline can take longer than a day to completely get dry after it evaporates. However, it can take up to 90 minutes to an entire day for it to evaporate. Check out How Long does Gas take to Evaporate?

7. Why does Gasoline Evaporate from Gas Tank?

Gasoline can escape the gas tank even though your car has top-end engineering. Gasoline is known to be highly volatile, which means it can evaporate from the gas tank too if it comes in contact with air. This can happen if there are those tiny holes in the gap between the unsealed gas caps. However, if the tank is warm for longer periods, it can lead to the evaporation of gasoline from the tank. (See What Color is Gas Mixed with Oil?)

8. What happens if Gasoline is not Evaporated?

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Sometimes, in unsuitable conditions, gasoline cannot evaporate. Mostly gasoline is spilled on surfaces like tarmac or concrete which have cracks. Gasoline gets absorbed through the surface and gets deep down into the surface. However, the condition can be dangerous if a large amount of gasoline is spilled and not absorbed or evaporated as it can lead to a fire. (See Which Solvent is Needed to Remove an Oil Spot?)

9. Is Dry Gasoline Flammable?

Sometimes, spilled gasoline leaves a mark on the surface, which clearly indicates that it has not evaporated. Though in such a condition it is not flammable, surfaces like wood or cloth can have some remnants of gasoline in the depths that can catch fire if put under the right circumstances. Since you know how can gasoline evaporate, it is highly recommended to take precautions while handling such things. (See What is Deposition Process Example?)

10. What affects the Flammability of Spilled Gasoline?

In terms of the flammability of gasoline, types of surfaces are considered, namely permeable and impermeable. Permeable surfaces like wood or cloth will absorb the gasoline whereas impermeable surfaces like glass or steel will not absorb it and let it evaporate. During the early moments of spillage, gasoline is highly flammable even if it has evaporated. However, in the case of permeable surfaces, the risk of fire remains for longer periods. (See Boiling of Water is a Physical Change or Chemical Change?)

11. Does Old and New Gas Cause any Difference in Evaporation?

According to the experts, old gas in the tank seems to stay longer than new gas. The evaporation rate of new gas is faster in comparison to the older gas. However, if old gas stays in the tank it will eventually evaporate but adding a few drops of old gas into new gas will reduce the rate of evaporation. (See How does a 2 Cycle Engine work?)

12. Does Oxidation of Gas affect Its Effectiveness?

Well, keeping a gallon of gas in the open air on a hot day will eventually lead to the evaporation of gasoline within a few months. But with oxidation, it starts getting weaker day by day. It will become less combustible which means that its effect of being flammable is highly affected as it gets oxidized. It can be proved by the reduced mileage your vehicle will get from using such gas. All this information is useful while discussing- can gasoline evaporate? (See 8 Fuel Types For Cars)

13. How to Prevent Gasoline from Evaporating?

Learn about ways to prevent evaporation after finding out how can gasoline evaporate. Sometimes, it seems impossible to handle some situations and one such is losing the gas from the fuel tank even without driving the car. The possible reasons for the same have already been mentioned above. But I guess you would like to know about some ways that can be helpful in preventing gasoline evaporation.

  • Gas Tank Cap: It is necessary to check the fuel gas cap after refilling the tank. It is advised to check it yourself and not just rely on the person filling the gas. There are instances when the gas cap becomes greasy and would not stay in place, it is advised to change them as soon as possible. It is not dangerous if you have such a cap, but the evaporation of gasoline will continue.
  • Time of filling the Tank: It is advised that you should refill the tank either early morning before sunrise or after sunset. This rule applies to the fact of temperature influences gasoline evaporation. Since the temperature outside is less and your car is not overly heated due to external heat, it will lead to least or no gasoline evaporation. 
  • Parking in Shade: Most of the time, it is nearly impossible that you get a desirable parking spot, but make sure to park in a shady area if possible. A car parked in a sunny spot with soaring temperatures gets overly heated which can trigger the evaporation of gasoline from the tank. This is something that cannot be completely prevented, but parking in a shadier spot will surely reduce the loss.

14. What is EVAP System?

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Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) is a system developed to prevent the evaporation of gasoline from the fuel tank into the atmosphere. It seals the fuel system of the vehicle to prevent the fuel from turning into vapor. The system works by trapping the vapor of the fuel into a vapor canister and the vapor from this canister is cleansed (purged) back into the engine when the conditions are suitable.

So, today you got to know whether can gasoline evaporate. That ultimately turned out to be a yes, it does evaporate. You also learned why gasoline evaporate from gas tank. Do you remember how long does it take for gasoline to evaporate? If you find this article informative and interesting, share it with your friends and let them have a look at all the gasoline-related facts we discussed here. (See 10 Facts about ESP Malfunction)

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