Reader Question: Long-Term Gas Storage?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Cammy writes: My husband and I are worried about what may happen in the coming year assuming Biden becomes president and even if he doesn’t. It seems likely there will be violence regardless and one of the things we have been considering is storing a decent quantity of fuel in order to have extra on hand for the generator as well as potentially for our vehicles. Have you got any advice for us?

My reply: Yes, I do.

The first recommendation I’d like to pass along is that it is sound policy to keep your vehicles as full as possible at all times. You never know when fuel may – suddenly – become unavailable or when you may need to not stop for anything. Besides which, if you keep your tanks full, you will have 15-20 (or however many) gallons of gas already stored. In a pinch, this can be drained from the tank to use in a generator, etc. And even if none of the previous becomes an issue, it is good for your car’s fuel pump – which is located in the tank – to be swimming in gas, because it cools the pump and that helps extend its service life.

The second recommendation I’d like to pass along is that it’s probably a good idea to get two or three five gallon jugs and keep them filled, too. You can use fuel stabilizer to retard spoilage but even better is to cycle the gas in the jugs through your vehicles (and equipment, such as lawn mowers) so that the gas in the jugs is never more than a month or so old. This way, you not only have 15 or so gallons of portable fuel on hand, it is not stale fuel.

A third recommendation – more involved – is to consider shifting over (as you can) to diesel-powered everything. Cars and gennie. Diesel not only stores better, it can be made yourself – or acquired more easily – than gasoline, which requires higher-order distillation not really feasible outside of industrial-scale operations.

I screwed up bigly when I did not jump on the opportunity to buy a diesel gennie from an estate sale a couple of years back. It was powerful enough to run my house and 50 gallons of diesel would have kept me powered up (intermittently) for months.


Live – and learn.

. . .

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  1. Step 1: No ethanol. Even if you have to pay an extra 50 cents per gallon to get ethanol-free premium.

    Step 2: NATO 20 liter fuel cans. You should have at least five of them. They’re no longer as easy to find cheaply, and the vented spouts even less so. Unvented spouts means 5 gallons glugging slowly instead of pouring smoothly, but they’re better than nothing. You’ll also need a spout (or adapter) that reduces the nozzle size to fit unleaded openings. If you can’t find NATO cans, then buy quality vented metal fuel cans, like Eagle Mfg.

    Step 3: StaBil, Seafoam, Lucas, or other quality stabilizers.

    Step 4: fill vehicles from the cans, then fill the cans with fresh fuel and a good dash of stabilizer.

    Bonus points: you can use this ethanol-free fuel safely in your small engines (mowers, chainsaw, etc.) without needing a carb rebuild every year.

    • I like Chevron Techron fuel system cleaner. I had water in my gas one day and the pickup was running like crap. Tiny town and only a Dollar store. I went in and found that white can of Techron and some Heet cleaner too. I put the Techron in and drove a few blocks and it got a bit smoother as I drove. I had to stop and pick up a processed deer which took about 15 minutes. First start it was still missing a big but a few blocks on the highway at 30 mph and then out of town and it just smoothed right out. I’d had hell with it and knew I got a load of crap at Wally one day. I put the Heet in at home, the cleaner type and next time I drove it there were no issues.

      As far as diesel goes, when you change a fuel filter everyone I know refills it with ATF, a tune-up in a bottle I call it. I always made sure to put a few quarts of ATF in my diesel rigs.

      We recently got our bank account hacked immediately after filling up at an Alon station. I have a 250 gallon overhead tank I used for my diesel tractor I no longer have. I considered having it filled with gasoline so I didn’t have to use pumps at stations and go through that again. The more I thinkk about it, I can’t decide what to use to keep the water from accumulating since that corn additive is terrible about absorbing water. If anyone know what might keep half that tank clean of water let me know. I try to keep my tank full just because of the water problem in that crap they call gasoline these days.


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