Quantcast
Prepper Gear Auctions
728x90
728x90

Avoid The Lines – How to Store Fuel Long Term

  • Pin It
StoreFuel
Print Friendly

A generator without gas is like a rifle without ammunition. For this piece of machinery to be of any use to you outside of a very expensive and heavy paper weight, you need to have a plan for fuel storage. This is also the case if you don’t want to end up like millions of people each year who are unable to get gas after a natural emergency like Hurricane Sandy. A good fuel storage plan usually involves purchasing and properly treating a minimum amount of fuel to last you through whatever scenario you are planning for.  This might be fuel for your generators, or enough gas to get you to your bug out location. It is easier to pre-purchase fuel and store it so that in the case of an emergency, you aren’t standing in line. There are a few things to consider when you are planning to store fuel for a long time that we will cover below.

What type of container should you store fuel in?

Similar to having water on hand in an emergency; having a supply of fuel in containers that protect the fuel and are easy to carry is important. Could you store gas in thousand gallon tanks buried underground? Yes, and that is my dream scenario but for now I and I assume most others will have to settle for something a little more cost effective and portable. There are many different types of fuel containers but for gas, the most common style is plastic and red in color with a built in spout of some form. Kerosene containers are blue, Diesel is Yellow and it is important to follow this handy color convention so that you don’t accidentally pour regular gas in your kerosene heater and fry your eyebrows off or worse.

You can get new fuel cans just about anywhere. Home Depot, WalMart, Lowes and any hardware store will have some options for you. Most of the new models at Walmart near me are from a company called Scepter and have a new type of nozzle which is probably the result of stupid legislation that doesn’t work well at all. The nozzle requires you to press two tabs and pull them into a position for the fuel to dispense. This doesn’t work very well and the fuel doesn’t come out smoothly. I don’t think this is necessarily Scepter’s fault and they are probably only doing what is required from government regulations.

You can also pick fuel cans up at yard-sales or salvage companies. There is a salvage company down the road from me that routinely has perfectly good fuel cans for very cheap with the old goose neck spouts. These are much superior in my opinion and if you are going to be pouring fuel out of a heavy can into a small hole I would recommend getting a good goose-neck or buying an older can. I have several of the new cans full of gas in my shed and a couple of older ones. If I need to pour anything out, I will use what is in the old style cans first and then pour my gas from the new cans into the old cans. It is just easier for me that way.

Regardless of whether you have a new or old can, the place you store your fuel should be as airtight as possible. You don’t want fumes leaking into the area you have your fuel stored and gasoline evaporates quickly when exposed to air.

Using Fuel Additives for long term fuel storage

Gas loses its potency over time and this also applies to Diesel and Kerosene. Diesel for example if stored at lower than 70 degrees will last about 12 months without any additives provided it is kept in a sealed container. If your temperatures are much above 70 that time slips by 50% to 6 months. According to BP,

As diesel gets older a fine sediment and gum forms in the diesel brought about by the reaction of diesel components with oxygen from the air. The fine sediment and gum will block fuel filters, leading to fuel starvation and the engine stopping. Frequent filter changes are then required to keep the engine going. The gums and sediments do not burn in the engine very well and can lead to carbon and soot deposits on injectors and other combustion surfaces.

Now, what can we do to prevent issues like this and protect our fuel because you don’t want to be trying to outrun the mutant zombie bikers from Mars and have your engine stop? Additives. There are two main additives that I have run across, STA-BIL and PRI-G. PRI has several lines of additives and the –G stands for gasoline. They also have PRI-D for diesel.  PRI additives are designed to be added to your fuel on a yearly basis to maintain the fuel in the best condition possible and they even claim that if your fuel has aged already, just adding PRI-G has proven to restore the fuel to “refinery-fresh conditions”. I would rather not test that out but PRI-G does have a decent reputation.

STA-BIL is one that I have personally used and does pretty much the same thing as PRI-G in terms of conditioning your fuel to last a lot longer in storage than it would without treatment. The instructions are simple, just dump the required amount in with your fuel and Voila! You should be able to safe storing fuel for at least a year with no adverse affects. I pour in the additive first and then the gas so that it is mixed as thoroughly as possible.

How Much and Where do I store my fuel?

Can you ever have too much fuel? I don’t know that you can in a real emergency. If you are unable to get to the gas station or there are rations at the pump you can never have too much. Would 500 gallons be enough? It really depends. If you have a minor power outage that lasts a few days, then you wouldn’t need that much gas at all. If we have the end of the world and there are no gas stations anymore, that 500 gallons is going to be a huge help, but it won’t last forever.

What I think is a good baseline takes into consideration the 80/20 rule. What is the likelihood that you will need this fuel for? For most people I think storing fuel for a bug out vehicle or a generator is the most common scenario to plan for. For your car, I would plan on storing as much gas as you need to get you to your bugout location and add 50% to that. So, if you needed 2 tanks of gas to get you to your retreat and your tank held 20 gallons, I would store 60 gallons of treated fuel. This way if for some reason the grid goes down, the SHTF and zombies are walking all over the gas station parking lots, you should have plenty to get you there.

For a generator, I think you have to look at what you plan to run and how long you plan to run it. 15 gallons would last me about a week as long as I was using the generator for necessities only. Of course it depends on the time of year but that is an average. Everyone should have at least one can of gas stored for emergencies but I like to store a minimum of one tank of gas for my car which is roughly 17 gallons and another 10 for the generator

Fuel should be stored in a clean, preferably cool place away from where you live. Don’t store fuel in your house if possible because that is an accident waiting to happen. If my shed blew up I would be a lot less concerned than if my house blew up.

Don’t forget to rotate

I posted in another article a couple of weeks ago about 3 common mistakes preppers make and storing fuel should be considered as well. I wouldn’t buy 50 gallons of gas, throw in some stabilizer and forget about them. Use and rotate your fuel yearly and you will be in great shape if something does require you to use your supplies. Since they blend gas differently in the Winter, I buy my fuel around January and store that for a year. Before the next January comes around I load up my gas tank in my car expending my stores and then head to the pump for a fresh batch. This way I think my fuel will be in as good a condition as possible.

Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts, please add them in the comments below.


If you found this article useful, please Vote for The Prepper Journal as a top prepper web site.

Copyright Information This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal. Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you would like to be notified of new articles, contests and Prepper news, please sign up for our daily newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or Like Us on Facebook.

Google

32 Comments

  1. Larry Black

    May 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the answers I was looking for about how long treated, stored, fuel can remain viable. Your reminder not to store gas and diesel in your home is a good point also, as I’m sure many would be inclined to just stack the cans in the basement. Problem is that many storage containers, certainly the older ones, are vented in order to allow for the release of expanding gases and prevent potential explosion risk.
    And as you said, an explosion in the shed is/would be preferable to blowing up the house and the last thing you want is a cloud of gas fumes sharing space in the basement with the electronic ignition of the furnace.

  2. Geoff Gariepy

    May 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I too keep my stored gasoline in a shed separate from the house/garage in order to mitigate some of the risk. Look into steel safety cans — expensive but definitely preferable to plastic gasoline containers. Stabil works very well; I make sure I create a duct tape label attached to the can with the purchase date written in permanent marker so I know how old the fuel is and rotate once every 12 months the same way you do.

    In all honesty, keeping the sort of quantities of gasoline around you’re talking about is going to be a fire hazard regardless of how you do it without going to a dedicated tank, preferably underground. I keep a maximum of 18 gallons around at one time, plus what’s in the two vehicles. It is enough to run the generator for a considerable length of time or get me several hundred miles away. Remember, accidents do happen and if you have a fire in that shed that takes a firefighter’s life you will have a LOT to answer for.

    • prepperjournal

      May 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Very true! Thanks Geoff.

  3. Notch

    May 24, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I would suggest that for long term storage you store straight gasoline as in no ethanol/alcohol mixed in. If you go to http://www.pure-gas.org you will be able to find the closest retail outlet that has pure gas. Pure gasoline is much more stable than any of the ethanol blends and as such will not break down as quickly and if you treat with Stabil or Pri-G then you’re looking at being able to store it for 12+ months.

    As far as storing fuel, check your homeowners or renters insurance to see if there are any restrictions on how much you can store and still be covered. I agree with others that if you have a shed then that is where you should store your fuel.

    • prepperjournal

      May 24, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Thanks for the comments Notch and for the resource to check for Ethanol free gas!

  4. The Phantom

    May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve used Sta-Bil in my gasoline. It is the 10% variety also, The gasoline was stored for a year then used in the spring to run my lawn mower. Worked fine. I’ve also read in a number of places that Sta-Bil should be used in 2 cycle engines where you use 10% or so ethanol as those engines are not built to run on any ethanol. I have managed to ruin a couple two cycle engines over my lifetime so will test out that theory.

  5. justalocalreader

    May 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Good plan,,any thoughts for those us who rent and don’t have sheds for storage?
    (zombies eh? LOL)

    • prepperjournal

      May 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks for your question and comments!

      Apartment dwellers have special advantages and obvious disadvantages especially in situations like this. For storage, your options are limited but your needs are all the same. A lot of apartment complexes have additional storage away from the units that you can rent. Barring that, I would look to stock items that made sense in one of those storage rental units that was close by if there are any. If none of that was possible, I think I would still store a 5 gallon can somewhere for emergencies. Outside on the deck storage closet?

      I would also make sure I had plenty of fire extinguishers and made sure my container was properly sealed and as safe as humanly possible.

      Pat

      • justalocalreader

        May 29, 2013 at 6:16 am

        Thanks,,possibly renting a storage unit,never thought of that,,we rent a house but there’s no shed or anything. While I believe zombies are a ridiculous notion but fun to watch other’s posting about, it just makes sense to prepare for the whatevers in our lives that happen,esp in this world today.

        • prepperjournal

          May 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

          Thanks!

          Just so you understand, I don’t believe zombies would ever be something to worry about either but I do like to use them in references for the same reason. Its fun to talk about and it gives you an easier scenario to visualize in some cases for some strange reason.

          And, if the zombies ever do become real we’ll be ready… :)

          Pat

          • ractivist

            June 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

            zombies are the universal sign for those on link cards, the unprepared, etc, that will walking around in a stupor. With only one way to help themselves, to help themselves…….at others expense. They will be real, don’t doubt this.

  6. Mark

    May 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Queston…will adding stabill or other additives affect the gas being used into your car. How about the catalytic convertor ?

    • prepperjournal

      May 25, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Mark,

      It isn’t supposed to according to the manufacturer but that statement is only as good as your experience obviously. I have anecdotal evidence from others that they have had no problems with injectors. I haven’t either and have used fuel stored for over a year in both my cars and lawnmower and it worked fine.

      Pat

    • Government_Goodies

      July 29, 2014 at 9:32 am

      If you have an older car that wasn’t made to handle our current ethanol mixed gas then I would check out http://www.bellperformance.com/ rather than use Stabil. As Pat indicated Stabil isn’t designed for that use.

  7. Maxwell H. Walsh

    May 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Great article. About the”new”gas cans, go to YouTube and search for, “how to fix a new gas can.” It is very easy and works great. I started using Sta-bil and their research said their product would stabilize gas for one year. If you double the dose it would be good for two years. This HAS worked for me. I use 100 gal tanks and replace as I use. I have a second 100 gal tank that I am using Pri-g in. According to their website it is designed for comercial applications and will protect gas for years. Their test is going on 12 years and the gas is like new. Good luck and Happy Prepping.

    • prepperjournal

      May 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks for the comments Maxwell!

      I have seen those videos too and thought about including them in this post, but may do that later. The fix is super simple with some basic tools and I will try that out the next time I need to empty some of my stores.

      Pat

      • Steve Cullen

        November 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        I’m looking to store gasoline now.

        This is my plan & I’d appreciate your feedback.

        55 gal steel drums that I can get cheap… $20 a drum. Held racing fuel originally.

        Store in back of my property in an area that is semi wooded & concealed. Also surrounded by 45 acres of woods.

        Put drums on wooden pallets & build a 3 sided cover two side walls & roof. This will conceal & shade drums. 4ft.X 8ft. of platform area.

        Store 3-4 drums at about 150-200 gals & treat the gas.

        Rotate them over time one barrel at a time.

        In rotation of gas into 2 mowers and car over time.

        How does this sound?

        Then generator (4500 watts) can be used for refrigerator /freezer & smaller freezer & refrigerator in shed. Also for heater in house if it gets cold.

        Also for rechargeable flashlights or other items that need to be charged.

        Workable plan.

        Email me please..

        Thanks

        Steve Cullen

        • Pat

          November 3, 2014 at 8:26 am

          Steve,

          That sounds like a decent plan. I don’t have the back woods option that you do and the only thing I can think of is that your drums could rust eventually but if they are covered as you mention that should be fine. It will give you a lot of fuel storage, but will you be able to make sure nobody steals it?

          Pat

  8. Vodin

    October 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I find that you can twist off the spring loaded spout on the sceptor gas cans sold at WalMart. I would recommend you buy a metal funnel with a long extension to fit in the gas fill point of your vehicle.

    Next point check with your community guidelines for the amount of gas you can store. If an accident occurs there will be legal reckoning to deal with.

    If you don’t want to put additives in your gas cans. Run your car to half a tank park in the garage and fill it up with your gas cans. Then refill your gas cans at the station. Make sure your cans are marked and rotated accordingly. Make sure the gas doesn’t stand unused for more than a month.

    • prepperjournal

      October 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Great suggestions, thank you!

  9. Verda

    February 7, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Hi there I am so grateful I found your blog, I really found you by error, while I was browsing on Digg for something else, Regardless
    I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a incredible
    post and a all round entertaining blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through
    it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do
    keep up the superb work.

  10. Government_Goodies

    July 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

    A scenario I plan to try is a whole house natural gas generator in the basement vented to the outside to minimize my need for fuel storage. I do, however, wish to continue storing the gas in case. Thank you for the article.

    • Pat Henry

      July 29, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you!

      I want a whole home generator but that is on the end of my list of must buy items. We don’t routinely lose power at all so this would just be in case of something cataclysmic I think. If that were to happen, its likely the Natural gas would be shut off too. Ideally you would have a large tank of your own, but we start getting well into the tens of thousands at that point.

      Pat

  11. Steve Cullen

    October 19, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I’m looking at developing a “system” of storing between 120 gals and 1170 gals of gas safely and cheaply….

    I’m looking at sealed 55 gal plastic barrels similar to what you might find on the net for water storage.

    These plastic barrels come with openings in the top that have screwed in caps to make sure they are sealed tight.

    Some barrels can be found cheaply having been used to hold other materials, but one needs to make sure they are totally free of whatever chemicals were previously in the barrel because mixing with gasoline could be a serious problem.

    But the plastic material is similar to the type of plastic in thickness to 5 gals gas cans.

    A portable siphon hope then can be inserted into the barrels and the gas can be pumped into 5 gal gas cans and then used to pour into generators, car gas tanks, tillers for a garden, lawn mowers etc….

    These 55 gals barrels even could be stored in a small shed away from a house if you live on a multi acre tract of property….

    The barrels then would have the gas stabilizer added to keep the gas fresh.

    !50 gals of gas stored would be a significant advantage to even trying to store gas in 5 gal gas cans.

    Anyway anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on my ideas?

    Thanks

    Cullen

    • Steve Cullen

      October 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      That should read in my previous post 120 gals and 170 gals and not 1170 gals ….that was a typo

    • Pat Henry

      October 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Steve,

      You are right in that having 50 gallons stored would be much better for the long term. I wouldn’t store fuel in anything I wasn’t sure was safe for it like you said. I have used some of those old barrels you are talking about that were filled with food products as my rain catchment system. I think mine at one point had barbeque sauce.

      I know that these are only catching the water and that I still need to filter it. If this was fuel though I wouldn’t risk any contaminants getting into the fuel. Either that or some have stored chemicals in their barrels at one point. How would you know if your fuel wouldn’t be contaminated?

      Pat

  12. Shannon

    October 20, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Thank you for the informative post! I am new to prepping, but have put a real dent in the list of things my family will need to survive a disaster. My husband thinks I’m nuts! I’m sure he’ll be glad that I’m crazy when we’re not all starving in the future though. I have been really perplexed about how to handle fuel storage for a crisis. Gas seems so unstable and unreliable, and along with propane, no matter how much you store, eventually you are going to run out if the disaster persists long enough. Of course I am storing some anyways, but for sustainability, what do you think about distilling Ethanol as a fuel source? I live out in the sticks on a ton of land, and we could grow plenty of crops to produce a whole lot of renewable energy in the form of Ethanol. I think that most engines which are designed to run on gas could be modified to work on Ethanol. Does that sound nuts or practical? I can’t decide.

    • Pat Henry

      October 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Shannon,

      Thanks for your comments and questions.

      I guess it would depend on how much land you had and what you wanted to use the Ethanol for as well as what type of disaster we had. If you are talking about the end of the world, the ability to produce Ethanol would be huge if nobody around you was able to purchase fuel. On the other hand that could make you a target for people who wanted your processing capacity but didn’t want to pay you for the product.

      Pat

  13. Mark Devillier

    November 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Are Jerry Cans like these: http://www.amazon.com/Atlantic-British-Ltd-Jerry-Can/dp/B00ADLHN3S/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1416499399&sr=8-5&keywords=jerry+cans

    …. a good way to store gas for 12-14 months?

    Thanks … awesome site & info.

    • Pat Henry

      November 20, 2014 at 11:23 am

      They certainly are Mark, but they are expensive. I would not go with these necessarily for simple fuel storage. If you strapped these to the top of your bug out vehicle, it would make sense, but for regular storage the plastic cans work just fine. I have many of the plastic 5 gallon cans and have had fuel for over a year in them without any issue.

  14. R. Jenkins

    December 2, 2014 at 11:46 am

    A person I know has a 30 gallon gas caddy which he was hording gas in. I walked into his building one day and smelled the rotten oder of bad gas. I told him his gas was no good and we tried it in a lawn mower but it would not crank. He later told me he tried to use it to start a brush pile fire and he could not even light it with a match.

    • Pat

      December 3, 2014 at 8:24 am

      I assume the gas wasn’t treated. Do you know how old it was? I have stored gas for several months (over the winter) without treating it and it worked fine next year in the mower. My long-term storage fuel is all treated with Stabil.

      Pat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>