I just went to refuel my red '97. It has like-new paint. The filling nozzle backfired and splashed gasoline on the trunk and fender. All the carwashes in this one-horse town are closed now. please reassure me that my paint is not going to get ruined by the gas that dried on it. I can get to a car wash by 12 noon on Thursday.
I guess I should fill up pitchers of water and go hand wash it.
I installed the factory mud guards on my Miata that I bought from Roebuck Mazda. Mazda's instructions for preparing the painted fender surface prior to the guards installation was to wipe the surface clean with gasoline as a solvent to remove any foreign build up from the paint.
Since Mazda recommends using gasoline to clean any film from the paint, I believe that their paint compounds are formulated to not be affected by gasoline.
Also if you want to clean the gasoline from the surface, use a soapy towel to clean the spill. You need to use soap since straight water will not dissolve gasoline, and won't rinse it away.
Gasoline is a great solvent, but that doesn't mean it's safe for paint, just that short exposure to it isn't too harmful. Look at many old cars and note the cracking around the gas filler; that didn't happen in one or two spills, but is cumulative damage.
Gasoline evaporates pretty quickly, too
If your car had been dark blue, you'd have found a cheap way to improve its look by turning it into a Montego Blue More seriously, don't worry, your car is fine.
Stephan Guillou 96 Montego Blue
I work for Texaco R&D and one of our standard tests whenever we introduce a new additive is to squirt gasoline on pieces of car bodywork (yes, someone goes to a junkyard with a pair of snips and cuts pieces out of fenders). These get sprayed with gasoline every day for a month. We've never seen any problem with paint finishes from the US OEMs or the major Japanese makers. I'm sure we've never done a Miata, but I suspect Toyota and Honda use the same paint types. BTW Saturn plastic panels are fine too.
Gasoline might have removed the wax coating on the area so you might want to re-wax the car after washing.