LAST UPDATED: May 15, 2019
Best Fuel Stabilizers: Top Options for Storage and Protection
Keep your fuel fresh and clean your vehicle’s fuel system with fuel stabilizer
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON May 15, 2019
Best OverallStar Tron Enzyme Fuel TreatmentCheck Latest Price
Best ValueSTA-BIL 22214 Fuel StabilizerCheck Latest Price
Honorable MentionSea Foam RV SF-16 LiquidCheck Latest Price
Honorable MentionSTP Fuel System Cleaner and StabilizerCheck Latest Price
Honorable MentionLucas Oil Fuel StabilizerCheck Latest Price
Keeping your vehicle running at peak performance can be a difficult task. Luckily, there are lots of remedies and products that can help us along the way. Using a good-quality winter fuel stabilizer can keep your stored equipment protected while running stabilizer through your daily driver can help clean your fuel system. In this article, we'll give you our top picks for the best fuel stabilizer.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Fuel Stabilizer
- Save fuel. If you're keeping a vehicle or any gas-powered equipment in storage, chances are there will still be some gas left in its motor. Instead of draining it or letting it sit and go bad, fuel stabilizer will keep your fuel fresh for the duration of storage.
- Eliminate cold starts. The first time you start an engine after it has been sitting can sometimes be a pain. This is because sitting idle isn’t good for your motor, but using fuel stabilizer will help your engine and make that first start quick and easy.
- Clean your fuel system. No matter what type of fuel you use, there are going to be impurities that will build up in your fuel system. Using fuel stabilizer will clean out the impurities and protect your vehicle from corrosive condensation build-up.
- Performance. The build-up in your engine causes your motor to work harder to run. This hinders your engine's abilities and takes away from its performance and fuel economy. Cleaning your fuel system will ensure your engine runs better, boosting performance fuel economy
Types of Fuel Stabilizer
While every fuel stabilizer has the same primary goal in mind, each one is formulated differently for specific areas of protection. Fuel stabilizer is used to keep fuel fresh while sitting in storage, and storage-based formulas have longevity in mind. These formulas are specially designed to keep fuel fresh for as long as possible, with many claiming up to two years of protection.
Performance-based fuel stabilizer is still great for keeping fuel fresh. However, they tend to keep fuel clean for less than 24 months. Instead, they are formulated to get the best performance and efficiency out of your vehicle by breaking down build-up from fuel impurities.
Sta-Bil is a popular brand owned by Gold Eagle Co. The company, founded in 1932, has been an industry pioneer in producing aftermarket fluids and additives. This Chicago-based business markets over 100 branded products, including Sta-Bil fuel stabilizers specialized for performance, marine, and diesel uses.
This Chicago-based company got its start in 1923. The founder, Burt Pierce, made a name for his company by producing parts for the vehicles used during World War I. Later, issues with carbureted vehicles like clogged fuel systems grew, and products like Marvel Mystery Oil MM12R were born.
This company is behind the top-rated Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment. Starbrite got its start in 1973 as an auto polish company. In the 80s, the company expanded its line to include the boat care and appearance market. Today, it makes treatments and additives for a vehicle, aircraft, home care, aviation, lawn mowers, motorsports, and motorcycle markets.
In the 1930s, Fred Fandrei wanted to keep his boat from having fuel-related issues. As a petroleum salesman, he managed to create a formula that kept fuel from going bad and helped his motor run smoothly. Since becoming an official product in 1942, Sea Foam RV SF-16 Liquid has become a favorite choice among mechanics and car enthusiasts.
Fuel Stabilizer Pricing
- Under $20: For the most part, the fuel stabilizers that you can find under $20 are small containers. These 8- and 16-ounce containers are good for smaller gas-powered equipment like lawn mowers and snow blowers.
- Over $20: At this price range, you’ll mostly find full gallons of the top-rated fuel stabilizers. Some companies offer packs of 16- or 32-ounce containers instead of full gallons for easier storage.
Ease of Use
The idea behind using fuel stabilizer is to give you peace of mind when your gas-powered vehicle is sitting untouched for prolonged periods of time. So one of the most important features of a fuel additive is how easy it is to use. This applies to the container design and how easy it is to measure out the correct amounts for peak protection.
Using fuel stabilizer isn't going to help you much if the additive you use does not work with your type of fuel. There are differently formulated products for gasoline, diesel, and ethanol blends. Each product will tell you exactly what kind of fuel they should be used with and how much needs to be used per gallon.
- Winter Formula: Gas motors are more vulnerable to carbon deposits in colder climates. Storing fuel during the winter has its own setbacks, so you need the best fuel stabilizer for winter storage. Winter-formulated additives will further protect your vehicles and snow blowers from corrosion and build up.
- Length of Time: If you need to keep your fuel fresh for a certain amount of time, then you'd better know how long certain additives last. The best fuel stabilizers are rated for 24 months of protection, so if you're storing fuel for nearly two years, you'll need one of the longest-lasting stabilizers. If you aren't storing your product for too long, then other factors can take priority over longevity.
Best Fuel Stabilizer Reviews & Recommendations 2020
For our top pick, we chose Star Tron's Enzyme Fuel Treatment. This additive has unique enzyme technology that is specially designed to work great for both your daily driver or a vehicle you keep stored for months at a time. It's used to stop ethanol fuel problems and prevent phase separation.
This fuel stabilizer additive eliminates and prevents ethanol fuel problems by breaking down excess water and sludge. The smaller particles is safely burned up when running your engine. The cleaner fuel system will allow your vehicle to operate more efficiently and give you better performance. The added efficiency can lead to a considerable improvement on your overall gas mileage as well. This additive also guarantees two years of protection for your fuel system.
While this is the best fuel stabilizer for ethanol fuels, it isn't perfect for every job. Specifically, it's not applicable for diesel fuel (Star Tron offers a separate additive for diesel). The bottle design is also awkward, which can make it difficult to pour into your vehicle.
Sta-Bil not only offers one of the best fuel stabilizers, but this product is also the most affordable option. This fuel additive is a great choice for protecting your vehicle from typical build up or keeping it in good, running condition while it stays idle for prolonged periods.
Its stabilizer formula really stands out as one of the best options for winter storage. It can be used in any gas-powered vehicle you plan on storing for more than a month. It will keep the car's fuel fresh for up to 24 months, which eliminates the need to drain your fuel tank. The fuel additive guarantees a quick and easy start even after storage. It removes water from the fuel system to help prevent any corrosion.
While it is one of the best gasoline additives for storage, Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer isn't ideal for every situation. If you're looking for an additive to improve the gas mileage in your daily driver, there are better options out there. Also, this formula works great with gas-powered cars and equipment, but cannot be used with diesel engines.
Our honorable mention is often marketed as the best marine fuel stabilizer, but this additive is capable of much more. Sea Foam is a highly effective gasoline preservative stabilizer that both protects your vehicle while it's sitting and cleans the fuel system when it's running.
Sea Foam is the most comprehensive cleaner for your vehicle. It cleans the fuel injectors, carb jets, and passageways by dissolving carbon deposits throughout your fuel system. While it's liquifying the varnish deposits and internal engine contaminants, it is also lubricating your intake valves, pistons, and cylinders. What really sets it apart from the competition is its ability to be used in any gasoline and diesel engines.
While this gas preservative additive is applicable for any motor, it is not necessarily the best product for every job. Sea Foam is the most expensive option on our list, so people who don't want to spend too much money will probably prefer a different option. This additive also works the best with a vehicle you plan to keep running, so if you want a stabilizer for storing your fuel, there are better options out there.
STP’s fuel cleaner and stabilizer is an economical and powerful tool for preventing corrosion and fuel loss in ethanol fuel systems. One 12-ounce bottle is sufficient to treat 40 gallons of gasoline, so you might be able to use a single bottle to protect multiple engines for an entire season.
STP’s additive is primarily a treatment, and it works wonders to clean out engines gummed up with ethanol deposits. It’s particularly useful for resurrecting old lawn equipment. However, it’s also effective as a stabilizer, so you’ll get a lot out of it, whether you add it to your ethanol system at the beginning or the end of the off-season.
The downside of the STP cleaner and stabilizer is that it’s better for major cleans versus smaller ones. If you’re using it to clean a fuel system that isn’t especially gummed or corroded, you might not see much effect. Also, adding too much can hurt an engine more than helping it, so you have to be careful to add just a few ounces per system.
Lucas Oil fuel stabilizer is an efficient, safe product for keeping gasoline stable in unused tanks. It works on all two-stroke and four-stroke engines and with any grade of fuel. The formula is also really easy to remember: one ounce per gallon in the tank.
Our favorite thing about Lucas Oil is the way it cleans your entire fuel system while it sits idle. It ensures that your carburetor, injector, and pumps don’t experience any loss of performance due to corrosion or deposits. Winterized vehicles can be left alone for up to a year without suffering noticeably.
What keeps Lucas from the top spot is the somewhat high stabilizer-to-gallon ratio. Many other products, like STA-BIL, can be stretched further. Also, while the additive itself is top quality, the bottle isn’t and occasionally leaks while in transit.
The neutra fuel stabilizer from Schaeffer Manufacturing costs a bit more than the others on this list, but it’s worth it for convenience. Neutra works in gasoline, diesel, and ethanol engines, so if you spring for a gallon, it might be the only stabilizer you’ll need for years.
As a combination treatment/stabilizer, Schaeffer Neutra improves fuel efficiency by cleaning carburetors and injectors while it sits. In addition to scrubbing out deposits and particulates, it depresses the freezing point of water, which makes it a particularly good choice for winterizing vehicles in cold climates. The results you get from this product are almost immediate.
There are a few issues with Neutra. The packaging isn’t always sealed well, leading to some leaks, and both the 12-ounce and gallon sizes could use a longer nozzle. Its power also isn’t concentrated well. It takes an entire 12-ounce bottle to treat a full car tank, which can get expensive over time.
Mercury is well known in the nautical world for manufacturing high-quality boat engines and outboard motors. Its Quickstor Fuel Stabilizer is a recommended treatment for nautical engines, but it also works wonders on cars, trucks, and other gasoline and ethanol engines.
The best thing about Mercury Quickstor is its concentrated power: one ounce works on five gallons of fuel, making this a potent, efficient treatment for your unused fuel. It makes winterizing your gas tank a snap, so you can move on to more involved seasonal chores.
Some drawbacks include the price, which is higher than average for a 12-ounce bottle, as well as the fact that it can cause performance problems if mixed with other additives. If you used a different brand last year, we recommend adding more gas to dilute it before applying this product.
- If you're adding fuel stabilizer directly into your gas tank, be sure you add it before filling your tank. This will ensure you only use the desired amount of stabilizer, and the fuel pump will help mix the additive evenly throughout the tank.
- The condition you keep your fuel and fuel stabilizer makes a huge difference. Make sure your containers are in a safe and dry storage area and that they are out of direct sunlight.
- Always follow the company's suggestions when it comes to using fuel stabilizer. The amounts are important to ensure your fuel is protected and you are getting the most out of your purchase.
- Be aware of what type of fuel you use before you buy fuel stabilizer. Some additives can be used with different types of fuel, while some only work with one. Be especially careful if you have a diesel engine, as most companies produce separate stabilizers specifically for diesel fuel.
Q: Should I use fuel stabilizer?
A: Using fuel stabilizer is entirely optional, but it has many benefits that might make it the right option for you. Using fuel stabilizer will keep your gasoline fresh while in storage and also cleans your fuel system from impurities and water buildup.
Q: Can fuel stabilizer fix old gasoline?
A: No, fuel stabilizer cannot convert bad fuel into good fuel. It needs to be added to good fuel, but it will keep that gasoline fresh.
Q: How long does fuel stabilizer stay good?
A: There’s no exact answer to this, but there are some things to consider. An open container won’t last as long as a sealed container—which will remain usable for a long time. Also, the climate that the container is kept in can negatively affect its longevity.
For overall protection and preservation, Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment is the best fuel stabilizer.
For customers who want a great product at a cheaper price, STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer is an amazing option.