Gas Storage for the Long Haul

Gas Storage Information

It is common knowledge that gasoline powers most vehicles. When thinking of a survival situation, how much gas do you need to “bug out” or get where you are going? How long can you store gasoline?
If you remember back to the days just after September 11, 2001, gas became a treasured commodity. People waited in line at gas stations for hours, and many stations ran out of gasoline. Unethical gas stations marked their gasoline up much higher than it should cost to make a quick extra buck.

How Much Gas to Store

You need to decide where you would potentially need to travel if there is a gas shortage. It could be to your bug out location, or back and forth from work for a week, or whatever you think you may need.
I drive a 2013 Ram 1500. The standard tank holds 26 gallons, and I (conservatively) get 10 to 13 miles per gallon. This means I can travel around 335 miles on a single tank of gas — or 26 gallons.
At a minimum, I want to have at least one tank of gas stored. Best case scenario, I would have a full tank of gas and a spare 26 gallons in storage. Worst case scenario, I would have 26 gallons in storage to be able to travel over 300 miles.
Do the calculations and determine how much gas you need to store.
Disclaimer: some fire codes restrict how much gas you can store on your property. Know the laws before you start storing gas.

How to Store Gas

You need to store your gas in containers that have been approved for storing gas. Duh. Approved containers will include a label or wording directly on the container that says it meets the specifications to be a portable container to store gas and petroleum products.
Fill your gas containers almost full. Do not over fill because you need to allow for expansion. Keep the lid tight on the container.
It’s best to be able to store your gas outside of your home in a barn or shed. Keep your containers out of direct sunlight. Put plywood under your container to prevent leaked gas from ruining or staining your floor.
If you need to store your gas inside, keep the container 50 feet or more from ANY ignition source — heat, sparks, flames, water heater, furnace, space heater, etc. Keep the container away and out of reach from kids and animals. Basically, don’t be an idiot.
The color of your can matters! Standard gasoline is typically stored in red container. Diesel is stored in yellow containers. Kerosene is stored in blue containers. Oil combustibles are stored in green containers.
You can technically put gas in any color container as long as it is approved as explained above. You will not get far, however, if you accidentally put diesel in your standard gas vehicle. The colored containers are to keep the types of fuel separate from other fuels and for easy identification.
Just follow the rules!

How Long Gas Can Be Stored

I won’t get into the nitty gritty of how gasoline is distilled and refined. If you want to learn about that you can read about it on the Off the Grid News blog. What you need to know is that gas is a very refined fuel. Over time, the molecular bonds in gas break down, and the octane rating falls.
Two stroke engines will be just fine with lower octane fuel. Your truck, however, will not. Untreated high octane fuel will drop significantly in 90 days. In comes Sta-Bil. Products like Sta-Bil slow down the breakdown of the chemical bond in gasoline.
Gas treated with Sta-Bil can last up to two years in a properly stored container. I rotate my gas storage. I have 5 gallon containers I have filled over a span of time. When I run out of gas for my mower or snowblower, I pull a container from my stash and fill up another container to take its place.
Diesel is a little different. Again, if you are interested in how diesel fuel is distilled and refined, check out Off the Grid News’ post. Properly treated diesel fuel can last up to 5 years. Diesel’s main enemies are algae and water. Treat all diesel with an algaecide or commercially available diesel fuel stabilizer. Also, keep your containers full. Airspace in the tank will promote condensation. Condensation adds water to your fuel. Water in your fuel can grow algae.
There you go! All you need to store diesel and gasoline. How much fuel do you have on hand? What are your tricks for keeping your gas fresh? Let us know in the comments.
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