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Old 07-24-2007, 08:20 AM   #1
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White Gas?

I remember camping in the 60's with my parents and we used Coleman stoves and mantle lanterns. My dad always called the fuel "white gas". Seems as we would stop at the Sunoco station in Merrimack for a few gallons of it as we were on our way to Bear Brook Campground in beautiful New Hampshire.
So was this just unleaded gas?
Anyone use auto fuel for their coleman stuff?
What is the Coleman camp fuel anyway?- special formula?
just wondering, after reading the what got you started in camping thread I was thinking og all the "camping memories" DG
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:24 AM   #2
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In the US, Australia, and a number of other countries, "white gas" refers to a liquid hydrocarbon mixture similar to gasoline (US) and Petrol (Australia), but which is less volatile, consisting of mostly hexanes and heptanes, whereas gasoline has a significant amount of pentaness in it. Also, gasoline sold for use in automobilesis full of additives not found in white gas. In some countries, "white spirit" means the same thing, but in England, that term is used for a type of paint thinner. Coleman stove fuel is very similar to white gas, and can usually be used where white gas is called for.
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorgunner
I remember camping in the 60's with my parents and we used Coleman stoves and mantle lanterns. My dad always called the fuel "white gas". Seems as we would stop at the Sunoco station in Merrimack for a few gallons of it as we were on our way to Bear Brook Campground in beautiful New Hampshire.
So was this just unleaded gas?
Anyone use auto fuel for their coleman stuff?
What is the Coleman camp fuel anyway?- special formula?
just wondering, after reading the what got you started in camping thread I was thinking og all the "camping memories" DG
I will wait for the chemistry majors to chime in However I believe that there is a difference between white gas and unleaded. I do know that the Coleman fuel contains additives (or perhaps doesn't) Supposedly you are only supposed to burn unleaded fuel in equipment specifically designed for it. I also have some milspec lanterns that will burn any type of gasoline leaded or unleaded. I typically have used Coleman branded fuel for all of my liquid gas stoves, heaters and lanterns. It wasn't really all that expensive when you consider I only used a couple 3 gallons a year.

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Old 07-24-2007, 08:43 AM   #4
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I'm still workin' on the gallon jug I bought 10 years ago....

anyway, I thought that the Coleman white-gas lantern I have would burn regular unleaded, as well. (in fact, I think it says "dual-fuel" on the lantern's label).
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:00 AM   #5
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Ahhh, the Smell of Lead Around the Campfire...

Without delving on hexanes, pentanes, and heptanes, the "white gas" we sold in the '60s was gasoline as refined without any additives. The main additive to avoid in "gasoline" (Coleman) lanterns was the lead, antiknock compound, the combustion biproducts being toxic. Coleman lanterns and stoves would work on regular gasoline just fine, but prolonged exposure couldn't be healthy. It was also said to clog up the "generator," so we always carried a spare.

Coleman fuel is essentially white gas, marketed to fill the void when service stations quit selling white gas I suspect.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:12 AM   #6
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I use the Wal-Mart brand of 'white gas'. It's all the same and a gallon lasts a loooong time.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:19 AM   #7
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My Grandpa used to get white gas for his boat. Not sure if they are still selling it at the boat yards.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:41 AM   #8
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Isn't white gas another name for kerosene? I recall my Dad referring to white gas for the lantern and stove, but I seem to remember him saying it was the same and buying kerosene at the gas station for use in them.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:07 AM   #9
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I think kerosene is different.

I'm not sure I would use the gas that you get at a gas station for Coleman stoves, lanterns, etc.

However, if you have one of the newer Coleman "Dual-Fuel" appliances, you can supposedly use car-type gas in them.

I have a three burner "Dual-fuel" stove, and a newer Coleman "dual-fuel" lantern. My preference is to fill them with the coleman fuel, or equivelant.

The gas stoves and lanterns are getting harder to come by, as propane seems to be more popular. I personally like more traditional fuel things. Weirdly, it seems more like camping to me.

Jonathan
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:27 AM   #10
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OK Jonathan, I looked it up and you are correct. There is a difference. According to the following web sites, white gas is the same thing as unleaded gas with the exception as quoted:
Unleaded Gasoline

white gasoline: definition, usage and pronunciation - YourDictionary.com

And on the following web site I found these notes:
http://www.welcomehome.org/backcountry/fuel.names.txt

"Coleman fuel and white gasoline are not the same. Coleman fuel contains
components that are much less volatile than gasoline (such as naptha).
This is what makes it safer to use in a stove or lantern. White gasoline
is simply gasoline that contains no antiknock additives. Commercial
unleaded gasoline contains additives that will likely damage your stove
unless it designed to accept this type of fuel (some are).
I suppose the question really is: Can I use white gas in my stove? Answer
is: probably. If it is clean and contains no additives, it will burn just
fine. It is more dangerous to handle since it is more volatile, but
clean, pure white gas will probably not damage your stove. At least it
has never harmed my Svea 123."

"I have a recommendation for those seeking Kerosene. The International
Specifications for Kerosene are almost if not exactly the same as commercial
Jet-A Fuel. Both products have very stringent % of sulphur content.

Since I market petroleum products in the NW (Seattle-Vancover,BC and parts of
Alaska) I have been purchasing Jet A in bulk and selling it as Kero for
years. It works very well.

A good test for quality is check to see if the jet a is water white with no
smell.

I would think most airports around the world would have this product and
would part with a few gallons for the needy camper. Besides, it is usually
inexpensive compared to other kero like products."

So you are indeed correct, kerosene is not the same as white gas. The stove or lantern must be designed to burn kerosene or there is the potential for damage...or at least the potential for jet propulsion!

It is not recommended to use unleaded or white gas in your Coleman camp stove unless it states that it will not harm it. I am not familiar with them so I won't make any comments there.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:33 AM   #11
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White Hot

We always got a can from the Amoco station...the unleaded.
Only place we could find it back in the 60's.
Never have used the offical Coleman fuel, it was not around back then anyway.

I still use fuel from whatever can is around, stove, lanterns and heaters, no need to worry about lead anymore.

In the past, when it was available, I did try to use regular leaded...what a mess!
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:51 AM   #12
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I do not know how alcohol affects stove-latern fuels... Minnesota has mandatory ethanol added to fuels but where performance could be deemed essential for safety our marinas sell 91 octane unleaded non-oxygenated, ethanol free for a mere $3.89/gal.
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:02 AM   #13
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The major problem with auto gas for stoves and lanterns is, as was pointed out already, the lead which precipatated and pluged the generators. Since auto fuel today doesn't use tetra ethyl lead, it is OK to use with one caveat. Dump the unused back into the car when storing your lamps and stoves. Automotive formulas are still prone to decompose and gunk up the works. Coleman fuel can be left in (one BIG advantage). I have put a tap in the fuel line under the hood where I can obtain auto gas at will. Very handy. Coleman made "jeep" stoves in WWII that could burn leaded aviation fuel. That allowed us to use the old auto gas with the lead.
Kerosene has more energy content per pound than gasoline or coleman fuel and wiill put out more heat if you have a stove that can use it. Petro-Max lanterns use kerosene and get more light for a longer time on a filling. Kerosene, on the other hand, is difficult to ignite in cold weather
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:13 PM   #14
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I bought a multi-fuel stove about 10 years ago from MSR XGK II. It has two jets. One will run on White gas (prefered) auto gas, aviation gas,. THe other: Kerosene, Jet-a, Diesel. whatever...
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