Simple Gas Storage Rotation Plan

Print Friendly
3.25/5 (4)

Most people would agree that it is good to have some spare fuel stored for the off chance that you might need it in an emergency. Extra fuel can be used to power generators and refill your car. Your extra fuel for your vehicle might be needed to keep your car running to power an inverter charging system. It could also be used to get you out of dodge if some event required you to bug out to a safer location. Fuel as we have seen most recently with the shortages after Hurricane Sandy is one prepper supply that you don’t want to be without.

But storing fuel just like storing food requires some efforts to keep the fuel fresh. As fuel ages it loses some of its combustion ability. Actually it isn’t age so much as it is evaporation in most cases so we are told to add agents like Sta-bil to our fuel to keep it in prime condition if you are facing the prospect of long term fuel storage. Well sealed containers also contribute a good deal to keeping your fuel fresh. I have personally stored fuel for over a year without any stabilizer and it works just fine for me, but if it hadn’t I would have been able to drive to the store and purchase additional fuel. What if the stores aren’t selling fuel anymore? What if you have no money to purchase any other fuel?

I recommend keeping a supply on hand just for emergencies like power outages caused by winter storms and even grid-down catastrophes. Having your own supply of fuel will give you an advantage over others who are stuck in line waiting to fill their gas cans up. How much do you need to store? It depends on what you are using it for, but I would say 20 gallons is a minimum. That should give you a whole tank of gas. Will this get you where you need to go? Maybe not, but it will get you a lot closer and it helps to have additional fuel in any disruption event. If you don’t use it, you could help someone else out.

Storing fuel is pretty simple. You could just buy several 5 gallon fuel containers, fill them up add Sta-bil and forget about it for a while at least. You do run the risk of something happening that you aren’t aware of and it would be pretty horrible to think you had plenty of fuel only to find out it was sludge that couldn’t even work in your generator so I wanted to share a really simple gas storage rotation plan with you that is easy to maintain and makes sure you always have fuel that is no older than 6 months. Just like you want to rotate your food storage, it is a good idea to rotate your gas storage too.



To start you need something to store your fuel in. I purchased several of the newer model fuel containers from Walmart. Each holds 5 gallons so with 6 containers I have 30 gallons of fuel stored in my shed whenever I need it. I didn’t want to have to tote all of these to the gas station every 6 months or so when I wanted to freshen up my supply so I numbered each container 1-6. You could do the same thing with 12 containers and that would correspond to each month of the year. I didn’t have that much storage space so I only used 6.


The way this works is at the end of every month, I wait until my tank is about half full and then I empty one of the gas cans into my car’s tank. Because these are the newer model of gas can they have a very ridiculous nozzle on them that is suppose to prevent any fuel from spilling (thank you EPA!) while you are pouring. This doesn’t prevent any spillage and it makes pouring a nightmare. To get around this hassle you can purchase something like the EZ Pour replacement kit and follow the instructions in the video below or just do what I did. I bought a nice funnel and I just take the whole nozzle off the gas can and pour away. There still isn’t a vent but it works fine and makes filling up the car much easier.


I also have a can reserved for the lawn mower or any yard machines and I top this off at the same time. When I am done I have an empty gas can that I will then go and fill up when I top off my tank. Every month I have a fresh 5 gallon container of fuel and the numbers help me keep track of what month I am on. At the end of 6 months, my entire supply has been rotated and I just start all over. With this system I make sure I never have fuel that is too stale.

How do you rotate your fuel storage?


If you liked this article, please rate it.

  • akalls

    I used Stabil….and then found PR-G, which they say will keep your fuel good for many years, even bring back bad gas. I keep 25 gallons in our shed at all times. The stuff I stored with Sta-bil I used after it was a year old….the same thing, put it in the car when half full. works for me.

    • I’ve heard the same about PRI-G but they don’t sell it anywhere around here or at least they make it hard to find.

  • usmarinestanker

    Pat, I’ve read some articles (even one youtube video which I can’t find for the life of me) saying that plastic containers are just waiting for an explosion to happen, etc (http://letamericaknow.com/view_feature_ysk.php?memberid=28&orderid=39&issueid=1208 ). They argue that metal “jerry cans” are the best.

    Is there truth to this, or is it overblown concern that can be mitigated with proper procedures?

    • That may be true Matt, but it would be the first I’ve heard of it and I can’t understand how plastic would be a worse container than metal unless you were puncturing it somehow. We have had plastic containers all the way since I was a wee lad cutting the grass and have never had any issues. I imagine that it is extremes. If you have a plastic gas can in the sun it can swell where as maybe metal would hold its shape better?

      Really with gas the problem isn’t the fuel it is the fumes. As long as the container is stored in a proper location and sealed I can’t think of why you would have to have metal. That being said metal cans are superior, but WAY more expensive. The will be what gets mounted on the exterior of the Bug Out Vehicle though.


  • Sideliner1950

    Thanks for this excellent article. How simple can gas rotation get?!? Sometimes we either don’t think about stuff like that, or we over-think it.

    Re: “Goon’s” EZ-Pour nozzle fuel container modification video, it’s a great recommendation. about 6 weeks ago I made this same modification to some 5-gallon plastic diesel fuel cans using the very same parts “Goon” uses, and the modification makes life so much better! I’m using Pri-D for a stabilizer.

    As “Goon” suggests, as much as anything, the lack of a vent is what makes the CARB-compliant containers such a PITA to use. Without a vent it take an unreasonably long time to pour out the contents, and it’s simply impractical, and possibly dangerous…since unleaded gasoline weighs about 6 lbs/gallon, and diesel about 7 lbs/gallon, a 5-gallon container of gasoline or diesel weighs either 30 lbs or 35 lbs. Hefting and holding a full 5-gallon can up high enough to commence and continue fueling a vehicle isn’t easy for the average man; fortunately, as the fuel flows out, the container gets lighter!

    As recommended by the replacement nozzle manufacturer’s instructions, I used a 1/2″ spade bit to drill the vent hole, rather than a twist bit, and to me it seemed to result in a somewhat cleaner job than the twist bit shown in the video. I’d like to point out two caveats…Caveat #1) use a spade bit with “spurs” that actually scribe the 1/2″ hole being drilled out, and to make sure those “spurs” are clean and sharp, and not dulled from usage…if practicable, a brand new bit should provide a nice, clean job. Anyway, with a spade bit, instead making spiral “twisties” as you drill, you’ll get a donut-shaped piece of plastic that will probably drop into the interior of the gas container. Caveat #2) Regardless of the bit you use, be sure to remove any and all debris from the can after drilling the vent hole, and flush and rinse the can thoroughly before filling. And if possible, add your stabilizer to your container before you fill your container with fuel…it mixes better that way.

    Finally, if you just need replacement vents, check out this link

    • ATLDO

      Sideliner1980- To help with the holding of the gas jug while emptying, place a milk crate or 5-gallon bucket upside down in a close location to your vehicle’s fill opening, put your foot on it and place the full gas jug on your knee to support the weight, open valve/spout and tilt as needed. Also have to use a long funnel, so I have to navigate that as well, but it works! My truck has a lift kit & the suburban doesn’t, but a smaller footrest might work for cars, not sure since I don’t own one.

  • Great advice!

    I have to check out the type of spade bits I buy because I must have purchased the wrong one when I tried to cut a hole in a plastic bucket to make my waterer. The hole wasn’t clean at all and actually when I went in further, it left a nice set of chunks i the plastic. I had to break out my knife and whittle a little bit to clean the hole up before it would work.

    Yes the vent is a huge help, but that nozzle that you have to hold with one thumb is a pain too. I prefer the old style but this kit works nicely too. Its a shame we are all to stupid and have to suffer legislation that will keeps us all safe.


  • Pingback: Getting Old Sux! Managing Expiration Dates Prepping Supplies()

  • Pingback: Getting Old Sux! Managing Expiration Dates | Prepper's Survival Homestead()

  • Pingback: Getting Old Sux! Managing Expiration Dates – SHTF Buzz()