Is the HBO The Last of Us series right in episode 4 about gas breaking down and that gasoline can go bad - Here is the answer.

Does Gasoline Go Bad Like in The Last of Us Episode 4?

The Last of Us episode 4 “Please Hold to My Hand” on HBO sees Joel siphoning gas from cars, as you might well do in a post-apocalyptic world. But he remarks that gas breaks down over time and the fuel he’s gathering is almost water. But is he actually correct? Is the HBO The Last of Us series right in episode 4 about gas breaking down and that gasoline can go bad?

Recommended Videos

Yes, Gas Does Break Down, but It May Be a Little Worse Than Joel Describes It in Episode 4

Joel is basically correct. He likely doesn’t mean that the gasoline is literally water, but gas loses its effectiveness over time to the point where it’s as useless. As confirmed by oil giant BP’s own fuel handling guidelines, gasoline can “last” for a year when stored in a sealed container. In other words, you can come back to it a year later and it should still be as effective.

But when you put it in the tank of a car or some other equipment such as a generator, it’ll start to break down and oxidize. You can find a more detailed scientific explanation here, but after three-to-six months on the outside, it’ll have lost a lot of its combustibility. Diesel lasts longer than petroleum and could last up to 12 months in a car’s engine before it starts going bad. However, there are bigger problems associated with old fuel.

As either gas or diesel break down, they get “gummy,” which, in turn, can clog up a car’s engine. So, even if Bill had serviced his truck on a regular basis, by using old gas Joel is damaging the vehicle. But again, it’s not like he has a lot of choice.

So is there anything that can be done to stop gasoline from going downhill? After all, oil’s been in the ground for millions of years — but its refined products are much less hardy. What you can do is add fuel stabilizer, which, while opinions vary, could keep fuel “good” for up to three years.

Survivalist Bill seems like the kind of man who would do that, but the gasoline that Joel is siphoning from regular cars won’t typically have it added. There’s also no way to reverse fuel breakdown, and since virtually every oil refinery will have shut down, there’ll be no new gasoline on the way.

Twenty years later after Outbreak Day, Joel is correct to expect very little from the gas he finds. So, yes, episode 4 of the HBO The Last of Us series is generally right that gasoline goes bad as gas breaks down.


The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Taps Into a James Bond Fan Casting in a Clever Way
Read Article Who Is Replacing Katy Perry on American Idol?
judges panel for american idol, including Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan
Read Article 10 Shows Like Fallout If You’re Looking for Something Similar
Related Content
Read Article The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Taps Into a James Bond Fan Casting in a Clever Way
Read Article Who Is Replacing Katy Perry on American Idol?
judges panel for american idol, including Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan
Read Article 10 Shows Like Fallout If You’re Looking for Something Similar
Author
Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.