Does Gas Freeze?

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Across the North and Midwest of America, it certainly can get very cold in the winter months.

Clearing snow, de-icing your windshield, or even chaining your wheels might be a regular occurrence for you already.

One thing that can lay heavy on the minds of people in these colder climates could be whether gas could freeze.

One myth we were always told as kids was to make sure your gas tank was full if you knew it was going to get really cold.

Many thought that if you left your tank too low, then your gas could freeze. Obviously if your gas freezes you remain in quite the predicament as using heat to try to melt it could have combustive consequences.

Is this a piece of advice based on anecdotal evidence, or a myth perpetuated to keep us buying gas?

We’ve done our best to investigate the claim, will we bust the myth, or is it in fact a great piece of advice? Read on to learn more about cars, gas, and whether gas can freeze.

Can Gasoline Freeze?

It seems a little wild to assume that gas could freeze while still in your car.

Your car creates a lot of heat via the by-products of other chemical and physical exchanges, and moreover, your gas should be kept tightly within the gas tank of your car.

So, surely your gasoline can’t freeze in most circumstances?

Does Gas Freezef

Well, you will be surprised to know that gasoline, like everything, will freeze at a certain point.

Depending on the actual component and make up of the particular gas you are using, generic gasoline is seen to freeze at -100 degrees Fahrenheit and below.

Depending on the makeup of your gasoline, this could actually occur even earlier.

Octane heavy gas, for example, will often freeze at higher temperatures.

Diesel on the other hand does actually freeze at a higher temperature than both. This is why gas stations regularly sell a summer diesel and winter diesel.

Another thing to keep an eye on is if water gets into your tank.

This can often be the cause of most gas tank related issues, although you’re probably thinking that most people would struggle to get water in their gas tank.

You’re right – however, almost everything has some level of water in it, so when gasoline condensates it can bring water into your gas tank.

This is where the old wives’ tale of keeping a full tank of gas comes true.

The more full your gas tank is, the less condensation will occur. So yeah this is good advice but doesn’t have much to do with the gas freezing.

Another way the cold can affect your gas is that in certain cold temperatures the cold can cause the gas to separate into its individual components, this makes it useless, and it won’t power your car any longer.

Other Ways The Cold Can Affect Your Car

One thing to watch out for while driving in cold weather is how it affects your gas meter. In the cold your gas meter can actually malfunction, in very cold temperatures, which can lead you to think you have more gas in your tank than the meter shows.

This is another common reason why people think that gas freezes, but is another common misconception, it is because the meter has malfunctioned rather than your gas freezing.

Does Gas Freeze

The cold also causes problems with the fuel lines, they can become brittle and break. If this happens, you’ll find yourself stranded somewhere without gas.

You might also see that your windshield wipers stop working or don’t work at all. This is because the wiper fluid isn’t able to flow through them properly.

If you’re not careful when driving in the cold, you may notice that your engine starts to run rough.

This is due to the fact that the oil becomes thick and hard as a result of the cold. When you start your car again, it’s going to take a bit longer to warm up and lubricate itself properly.

These types of problems are much more likely to occur, and will often happen way before, your gas is anywhere near the risk of freezing.

Final Thoughts

The likelihood of your gas freezing solid is pretty unlikely, gasoline does of course have a freezing point, just like everything does in some way or another, but the likelihood of you being in a -100 degree Fahrenheit climate is rather unlikely.

Even if you were in a place where it gets this cold, like the Arctic Tundra, the people who drive around in these situations will often take the necessary precautions with their vehicle in order to avoid complications from cold weather.

But finding a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit where you could drive is pretty unlikely, and a domestic car model would not be in use in this situation.

The reality is, a lot worse things are going to happen to your car before the risk of your gas freezing. By the time you reach a temperature where your gasoline will freeze, your car has already become pretty useless.

The domestic car we are referring to in this question is just super unlikely to ever be in a circumstance where the gas in the tank will freeze.

Yet, as we mentioned, much of the advice given to avoid your gas tank freezing is actually good advice, however it is misconceived that this is going to stop your gas tank freezing.

Things like leaving your gas tank more full than empty is to stop condensation, and when your gas meter stops working it’s a malfunction with the meter rather than frozen gas.

We hope this article has helped you figure out the issues with your car, eased your mind about driving in cold weather, and has helped you bust some myths about whether gas can freeze or not.

The bottom line is that gas can freeze, like anything, but the likelihood of you being in a situation where that happens is pretty low.

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