February 19, 2018

Fuel Storage

Fuel storage is something I don’t know a lot about but it was something that was on my list to research.  I recently received an email from a representative of Power Research INC. the makers of PRI-G and PRI-D, fuel treatments.  He asked if I would like a sample to do a review on.  I let him know that I don’t have a way to do a review on his product, but that if he sent me some information I would include it in my research for an upcoming article on fuel storage.  The offer sparked my interest, so I decided to write the article now.  When I say “fuel”, take it to mean both diesel and gasoline.  I will say “diesel” or “gasoline” if I mean a specific one.

Disclaimer; check with your local authorities on how much fuel you may store in a residential area.  Storage of too much fuel can lead to fines.


Fuel Storage

Fuel storage has the same enemies as food storage; light, air and moisture will cause it to go bad faster.  Because of this, it should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place that is not easily accessible by children.


Fuel Containers

Because the fumes are combustible, fuel should be stored in air tight containers that do not vent.  If you walk into the area where you store your fuel and can smell it, it is not air tight.


In The Survival PodcastEpisode-980- Steven Harris on Long Term Fuel Storage, Steven Harris (an engineer and all around guru on fuel and energy in general) said he stores his fuel in HDPE15 Gallon Water Storage Barrels (food grade bucket quality) drums.  He said they will expand in the summer and contract in the winter, but that these barrels can withstand it.  He said he had dropped his from the bed of his truck and they handled it just fine.

A 15 gallon barrel full of fuel will weigh almost exactly 100 pounds.  Steven said he had 2 year old gas in one of these containers with no additives and it worked just fine when used.

Caution: These barrels do not meet DOT standards for fuel transport and you do risk a ticket and other fines if you transport fuel in them.


Another option is the smaller, one to five gallon, containers.  The red ones that you buy from local stores are often low quality and fuel vents through the plastic as it heats and cools.  There have been improvements made to newer ones, but the older ones are not a good idea for long term fuel storage.


5galNATONato Jerry Gas Can 20L/5.28G Military Spec. containers are often very high quality and their price reflects it.  This Nato Jerry Gas Can 20L/5.28G Military Spec. is available on Amazon for $90.  I did some digging and this price is comparable to other vendors.  There are some out there that are much less expensive, but in reading reviews you can often find out why. The metal is often very thin and the spouts either don’t seal right or don’t work well.


Fuel Treatments

My first introduction to fuel treatments came from prepper fiction stories on the Internet.  I hadn’t really looked into them until I received the email from the gentleman at Power Research INC..  It looks like there are two big players in this marketplace; PRI products and STA-BIL.  If you know of others that I have missed, please link them in the comments and I will change the article.

Both products say they will keep the fuel fresh for up to twelve months. PRI-Products, however, say that you can treat them yearly to extend the fuel out many years.  However, they recommend testing the fuel yearly.  In this post on SurvivalBlog.com, Mr. Morton from Power Research INC claims they have stored fuel for 12 years and that it is “still refinery fresh”.  PRI-G is for gasoline, PRI-D is for diesel.  STA-BIL is for gasoline while Diesel formula STA-BIL is for, you guessed it, diesel.

Power Research Inc. has a site dedicated to preparedness where they speak to the importance of making sure your fuel will work when an emergency happens.

In terms of how much fuel treatment is required; STA-BIL states on their FAQ “A: One ounce (30mL) of STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer for every 2 ½ gallons (9.5 L) of gasoline, gasoline/oil mixtures, or ethanol blends is the recommended dosage level.”

From the PRI-G downloadable flyer: 16 Ounces treats 256 gallons; 32 Ounces treats 512 gallons and 1 Gallon will treat 2,000 gallons.  PRI-D will treat the same amount.

Here are some examples of fuel treatments;

PRI-G 16 oz. Fuel Stabilizer or PRI-G 32 oz. Fuel Stabilizer

PRI-D Fuel Stabilizer- For Diesel 16oz or PRI-D Fuel Stabilizer- For Diesel 32oz

STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer – 32 Fl oz.

Sta-Bil Diesel Formula Fuel Stabilizer and Performance Improver – 32 oz.

Refreshing Old Fuel

What are your options when fuel isn’t stored properly or rotated and goes bad?  STA-BIL does not treat old gas, but they do have another product called Start Your Engines, which is geared more at the small engines of lawnmowers, chainsaws and snow blowers.  From the FAQ for PRI; “PRI has been independent laboratory tested on 10-13 year old fuels, and has restored the fuel to usable condition.”

As I mentioned, this subject is fairly new to me, but from the research I have done, I am a bit more impressed with PRI-Products.  They are a bit more expensive but with the ability to use it year after year to keep fuel usable, as well as the ability to refresh old fuel, it seems like a lot more bang for the buck.

Fuel storage isn’t something I have done, but once we get a new home, it is something I want to make sure I do, and I will use PRI to make sure the fuel is usable when it is needed most.

Diesel does not go bad nearly as fast as gasoline.  The one exception I was able to find is diesel fuel that has fungus in it.  Fungus can grow when the fuel has been exposed to the air and moisture. PRI does have a product called PRI-OCIDE.  It can be added when the fuel is stored and will fight the fungi.


Fuel Rotation

I have come across a few different ways to rotate fuel.  The way that I think makes the most sense and is probably the easiest I found, I heard on The Survival Podcast Episode-885.  In it, Tim from Old Grouch’s Military Surplus says he has twelve five gallon NATO style cans, one marked for every month of the year.  Each month, with a little bit of gas in his vehicle already, he empties that months’ can into his vehicle.  He finishes filling his vehicle at the gas station and refills the NATO can as well.


Disposing of Old Fuel

Some counties have a hazardous material facility where you can drop off old fuel and other hazardous materials.  Where I live, I believe it’s free for most things and a small fee for others.  This may not be the case where you live.


Fuel With Ethanol in it

I have learned the hard way that fuel with ethanol in it can be a bad thing for small engines.  I had one mower that I had to take in to have the carburetor and fuel system cleaned out.  I honestly don’t know if fuel with ethanol in it will be harmful to stored fuel.  If you are storing the fuel with a generator in mind, I guess I would say err on the side of caution and store fuel that does not have it.  You can visit this link to get a List of Ethanol free gas stations in the United States and Canada.


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