Fuel Storage



Fuel Storage Fundamentals:

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Stabilizing Fuel For Long Term Storage:

The basic rule of fuel storage is: the more highly refined the fuel, the shorter its storage life. Kerosene will store for 15 years or more, diesel for 8-10 years, gasoline normally about 2 years. After that it builds up gums and peroxides, and suffers decomposition of anti-knock compounds to the point that fuel filters clog up and engines won’t run. Also, the butane that is added to gasoline tends to evaporate. Once the butane burns off, starting an engine can be hard. You usually have to use a squirt of either down the carb. High temperatures and exposure to oxygen encourage the decomposition process.

  • Sta-BilSeafoam and Sta-Bil brand fuel stabilizers slow the decomposition process.
  • Stabilized gas can last 5 or 6 years max.
  • Fuel made in the winter has more butane added to provide better cold weather starting.  Also increases shelf life.
  • Keep fuel cans full and rotate at regular intervals.
  • Use fuel cans first.
  • Diesel: stores better, safe to carry in bulk, available a while longer than gasoline. Will store for a decade or more if you put an antibacterial in it, and don’t let water seep in.
  • You can run a diesel engine on home heating oil. It is dyed differently so that people don’t try to cheat on road taxes.

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Fuel Storage Safety & Security:

gas storageDon’t store fuel in your home or garage.  If you have a house fire with any significant amount of fuel stored, you can expect a total loss of the structure.  Besides being stupidly dangerous, storage over specific amounts is illegal in certain jurisdictions, and you may find your insurance company denying your claim should you have a house fire.  The easy solution is to purchase a large outdoor “Tuppaware” storage box from the garden center of your local home improvement store (as seen in the photo to the right).  Make some shelves out of plywood that are thick enough to support the weight of your fuel cans.  Store your fuel in your storage box away from your home.  While the photo to the right shows the storage box next to a wood fence, mine current is painted camouflage and is located behind large shrubby deep in my back yard.  It is almost impossible to find unless you are told where to look.  It keeps the fuel storage from being an eye sore, and keeps it safer from thieves.

Padlock your container closed.  You may want to run a chain or cable through the handles of your fuel cans and secure them with a padlock. It will make moving the fuel cans almost impossible. If you use a keyed lock, hide a key nearby so that you don’t have to go searching for a key after the SHTF.  If you use a combination lock, make sure that the combination is written down somewhere that other authorized users can easily find.

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Old Style Gas Can Nozzles Are Dangerous:

gascanexplosionWhile older style plastic gas can nozzles were easy to use, they have been blamed for numerous gas can explosions that killed and seriously injured a number of users. If there is a static discharge while the fuel is poured, or if fuel is accidentally spilled on a hot muffler or hot engine part during refueling and ignited, the flames can travel up through the nozzle and into the gas can. If the fuel level in the can is low (so that the contents of the can is mostly fumes) then the fumes can ignite and the gas can will explode.

The flame arrestor (shown right) is simply a piece of screen that allows fuel to flow through, but won’t let a flame travel back up into the fuel can.

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New Style Gas Can Nozzles Suck!:

carb-spouts-with-XThe new style gas can nozzles are designed to meet the requirements of certain state laws that require gas cans to be child proof, and that they have some type of spill-proofing mechanism. There are several different designs on the market that meet the requirements, and they are all horrible. They don’t easily fit in many vehicle fuel ports, the mechanism makes it difficult to get the fuel flowing, and without a vent the fuel doesn’t flow out very well.

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EZ-Pour Gas Can Nozzles:



  • EZ-PourFuel simply and easily flows out without using any over-engineered anti-spill devices.
  • Equipped with a flame arrestor.
  • End cap screws securely to the end of the nozzle rather than simply push on.
  • The kit includes a vent so that fuel flows out easy and evenly.
  • The kit can be ordered online at the EZ-Pour link above, or at many retail stores, included Tractor Supply Store (Home Depot and Lowe’s do not carry them).

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Refueling With A “Safety Siphon”:

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How To Siphon Fuel From an Older Vehicle:

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How To Siphon Fuel From a Newer Vehicle:

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