How To Use Unleaded Gas In a Coleman Stove

I always use my Coleman stove to cook food when camping. I usually use Coleman fluid or generic white gas but I ran out on my last trip. 

I used unleaded gasoline instead, which was cheap, effective and was easily available (I could get it from the gas station). 

To use unleaded gas in a Coleman stove, buy the lowest octane gas available because it has the fewest additives which can clog the fuel line and generator. Fill the reservoir with unleaded gas (you can safely mix it with leftover Coleman fluid) and use your stove as you normally would. Clean the stove, fuel line and generator if it’s not working efficiently. 

Using unleaded gasoline in a Coleman stove is safe and effective as long as you follow a few essential steps. 

It doesn't burn quite as clean as white gas or Coleman fluid but it does work well in both stoves and lanterns. It's not something I would advise using regularly as it can clog up your generator and fuel lines and means your stove will require more cleaning, but it's one of the best Coleman fuel alternatives out there.

1. Buy The Lowest Octane Unleaded Gas Available 

Coleman dual fuel stoves are designed to work with Coleman fuel (or generic white gas) and unleaded gasoline.

That said, if you have the choice, opt for the lowest octane unleaded gas possible. Low-octane gas contains fewer additives, which is what leaves sooty residue in the fuel line, on the stove and generator (the lowest octane gas is 87 or regular unleaded).

Coleman stoves burn hot but hot not enough to dissolve these additives. 

Can You Use E10 Gas In a Coleman Stove?

With E10 fuel being the cheapest at most gas stations you might be wondering whether you can use E10 gas in your Coleman stove.

Yes, you can use E10 gas in a Coleman stove but it has a higher octane rating than regular unleaded and it could cause long term issues. It's fine to use every now and then, but it's not a fuel you would want to use regularly.

Like unleaded fuel it will clog up your generator much more than white gas and it can also cause some other long term issues like corrossion, deterioration of older rubber gaskets and it doesn't store as well as white gas. Read more details on using E10 gas in Coleman stoves.

2. Fill The Reservoir with Unleaded Gas or Mixed with Coleman Fluid

In order to get unleaded gas from the gas station you'll need to have a jerry can to fill up. I don't advise directly filling your stove or lantern tank from the pump at the gas station.

Once you have your gas, using your stove’s funnel, pour the unleaded gas into the fuel reservoir as you do with Coleman fluid or generic white gas.

If you have a little Coleman fluid left over, you can use that and add in the unleaded gasoline. You can mix the 2 fuels together or you can first drain the white gas or Coleman camp fuel before putting in your unleaded gas.

3. Make Sure To Use the Stove in a Well-Ventilated Area

Coleman stoves have efficient generators which heat up quickly and vaporize the fuel into a gas. This allows it to burn cleanly, as you’ve experienced with Coleman fuel or generic white gas. 

Unleaded fuel tends to burn a bit dirtier than white gas, especially as you get the burners up and running.

Whether you use unleaded gas or Coleman fuel, you should always use your stove outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. When in use, Coleman stoves consume oxygen and can be a carbon monoxide risk if you don’t take this precaution. 

When it’s windy, I always use the wind shields on the side of my stove so it lights up efficiently. 

4. Use Your Stove Like You Normally Would

Light your Coleman stove and start using it as you normally do. However, when using unleaded gasoline, you’ll notice that the cooking performance is slightly slower. 

For instance, the video below shows the difference in the performance of various fuel types with a Coleman dual fuel stove.

Coleman fuel was able to boil 1 liter/0.2 gallons of water in 4 minutes and 12 seconds and used 15 mL of gas to do it. 

With unleaded gas, it took 6 minutes 26 seconds minutes to boil the same amount of water and used 22 mL of fuel.

That means it takes 53% longer to boil water and uses 47% more fuel.

Interestingly kerosene was the most efficient Coleman Camp Fuel alternative. That's certainly something I didn't expect.

Although it will take you a few more minutes to cook your food using unleaded gas and you’ll use slightly more, unleaded gas is much cheaper than Coleman fuel and generic white gas. 

For example, the average gas price per gallon in March 2023 was $3.44. Coleman Fuel costs $14.47 per gallon from Walmart, which works out to a whopping 4.2x more expensive per gallon. 

Coleman Camp Fuel (1 Gallon)
$14.47

Also called white gas or camping fuel, you can't beat Coleman Fuel for camping. Coleman Fuel is very refined, and burns hotter and cleaner than other liquid fuels.

See Latest Price at Walmart
05/20/2024 01:04 am GMT

5. Clean the Stove and Generator When It Starts Running Poorly

A benefit to Coleman fuel is that it doesn’t leave black residue in the fuel line and on the generator. If you use unleaded gas with your Coleman stove several times, the sooty build-up will start to accumulate. 

Coleman advises against leaving fuel in the reservoir because this can accumulate residue and affect how it works. Remove the gasoline by draining the tank if you won’t be using it for a while.

If you’re struggling to light the stove and have been using unleaded fuel a lot, it probably means that there’s residue on the generator and/or the fuel lines. In this case, you’ll need to clean it. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Empty the fuel tank to avoid a mess. 
  2. Remove the end of the fuel tank tube with a wrench and use pliers to pull out the brass orifice inside it. This part regulates the gas so it’s important that it’s debris-free. 
  3. Gently loosen and remove the tube to reveal the generator spring and the long generator rod and needle, which also regulates the fuel. 
  4. Clean these parts with a wire brush, compressed air or soak in white vinegar and water.
  5. Loosen the nut on top of the fuel tank and remove the attached rod. Clean it with steel wool.