Performance Fuels

All Articles

How Fresh is That Race Fuel?

by Grassroots Motorsports

Posted on 5/21/2024 at 9:00 AM

Sunoco Race Fuels cans and cage



A common question Sunoco Race Fuels receives: Is this fuel fresh? The short answer is often yes, but as explained by Zachary J. Santner, senior specialist of quality at Sunoco, the full reply is usually longer. Don’t worry, he notes, the longer reply delivers the same answer: The fuel is fresh. 

Sunoco usually sells its race fuels via pumps, 5-gallon pails and 54-gallon drums. The pumps can be found at select tracks and dealers–the Grassroots Motorsports staff, for example, can access them locally at Daytona International Speedway–while smaller outlets tend to carry the pails and drums. 

The usual reason for the above question: the date marked on those pails and drums. These containers must meet U.N. packing requirements, meaning their year of manufacture must be stated on their certification label. “The pails are made well in advance” of the fuel, Santner notes, adding that pails and drums are often filled by regional distributors. They have the experience and hardware needed for the filling operation, he continues, including the special tools for properly sealing the containers. 

“We don’t have much concern because the fuels are so stable,” he continues. Just how stable? Sunoco says most of its fuels have a shelf life in excess of one or two years when properly stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry location. Check the product’s description for the specifics. “In the real world,” Santner notes, “your garage or shed is fine.” 

To test that shelf life, Sunoco places containers of fuel in less-than-ideal conditions–like out in the elements for two years in Pennsylvania–and regularly checks the specs. “We get all the seasons,” he notes. 

Santner offers an additional storage tip: Keep that cap tightly closed. A loose cap–or even drum pump–can allow the vapors to escape, causing the fuel to go stale. As long as the container remains tightly sealed, he explains, any vapors will condense back into a liquid phase, maintaining the fuel’s freshness.