March 30, 2017

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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Comments

  1. I have used PRI-G the 16 oz version for a vehicle I had in storage. The vehicle had winter gas in it. I live in BC Canada so that means the gas or fuel very had unstable components in it; 18 months later when I was ready start the vehicle the gas not degraded and the vehicle worked started with no problem. Would use the product again with hesitation.

  2. Good info Chris! If you need that 100 pounds on wheels check out the Duramax Flo n’ Go Rolling Gas can. It’s plastic but should last as long as the gas will. It has a nozzle on it that could come in handy too. Another thing to consider is storing the fuel where stray or aimed arms fire won’t find it easily and considering that it may be the “new Gold” you may want to lock it up too.

    • I think I have seen a rolling gas can with a hose, not sure if it was the Duramax. This is something I might look into once I start storing fuel.

      You make a very good point about being careful where you place the fuel. Away from things that could cause it ti ignite, or grow legs and walk away.

  3. The gasman speaks:

    I just investigated a fire this early AM and it did involve gasoline stored in a garage area. The owner had 2 natural gas furnaces in the garage area and one furnace had its return air vent on the bottom of the furnace cabinet. Sad to say a flammable vapor made its way across the garage floor and either the blower motor or the gas burner ignited the vapor and caused at least $180K worth of damage to the structure.

    Keep the flammable liquids away from natural gas, propane pilot lights and burners and electrical devices with motors running. If you have a shed outside put your gasoline cans there. Every home has aerosol cans with flammable vapors inside. Just be mindful of where you’re using them.

    There are some that think cold weather won’t create an ignitable vapor situation but what I saw at 2 AM this morning wasn’t the case!

    Be safe and Merry Christmas!

  4. PRI-G is the best thing for gasoline or use PRI-D for diesel. Great product

  5. Thanks for providing this good information about fuel storage.

  6. Ken Hansen says:

    Chris,

    Good info all around but I would like to give my 2 cents on the subject of fuel storage.

    First, fuel stored in air tight containers not designed for fuel is very dangerous. Fuel storage tanks have vented caps for a reason. Gasoline and Diesel Fuel will vaporize and the expanding gas has to go someplace. The loss from vaporizing is minimal, even in the heat of the summer if the storage tanks are shaded. Don’t get killed over saving a gallon of gas over an expanse of a year.

    I live a rural area so my take on fuel storage is a bit different then what is mentioned so far. I keep at least 400 gallons of gasoline on hand at all times, but farms are not regulated like residential areas in the city or suburb. I have three 300 gal fuel barrels on stands (gravity flow) that I refill with my 100 gal transfer tank (I use a hand transfer pump). I put the transfer tank in my pickup when I need to resupply and run into town and get my gas, take it home and pump it into my barrels. When that’s done, I take the transfer tank out of my pickup and store it in my shed. I have stored gas for up to 24 months in my barrels using Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer with no problems. Before I had my transfer barrel, I had my fuel delivered by the local farm service company, it cost me about 10 cents a gal delivery charge but you pay their price, which is usually a bit higher than at the local convince store.

    I too like to get regular unleaded gasoline for my older equipment; the ethanol blended gas seems to gum up my old 1953 super-m tractor and lawn mower. But I get the ethanol blended fuel for my car and pickup to save money. I have one barrel for my regular fuel and 2 for my blended fuel.

    I mention this to add that a 100 gallon transfer fuel tank (made specifically for fuel) can be found at almost any farm store or purchased online at Tractor Supply Co. or Northern Tool websites new for about $350. I found my transfer tank on craigslist for $80 and my 300 gal barrels with stands from my local fuel delivery company for under $100 each. This is safer then storing fuel in a water can/barrel and in the long run buying 20 five gal cans at $10-15 a pop and storing them takes a lot of room then a 100 gal transfer tank that is only 4 ft long by 2 ft high by 2 ft wide.

    I would go with a hand pump for about $100, cheaper than a 12 volt fuel pump for $350-300. Most farmers now-a-days have gone away with the 300 gallon gravity barrels and they are readily available if you know what you’re looking for.

    In addition, for 6 years I have worked for a farmer who has two 2500 gallon above ground storage tanks for his diesel fuel used in his tractors and combine (same diesel as what is used for cars and trucks but with a die added because it is exempt from the road taxes). He has 5000 gallons of diesel fuel delivered once every two years and have never had a problem (he treats it at the one year mark with PRI-D).

    Just my thoughts.

    Ken Hansen
    Rural Iowa

    • Good Information Ken. In the podcast I listed Episode-980- Steven Harris on Long Term Fuel Storage, Steven Harris who is an engineer and has worked on many things related to all kinds of fuel, said making sure the fuel was stored air tight was crucial.

      I’m a novice in the area, so I don’t have any experience to know for sure.

  7. When storing fuel, the tank should not be partially filled. Doing so allows condensation to form on the inside walls of the tank. Over time, the fuel will become contaminated with water.

    *It is also important to leave some room for expansion. There are formulas for determining the correct amount.

  8. good information here, thanks

  9. A.W. Atkinson says:

    Have had excellent experience with PRI-D. Given some old diesel fuel and added PRI-D and the fuel went from very dark to light amber as usual. Treat all my diesel once a year with PRI-D as recommended. Live on farm so have adequate storage facilities.
    Used some old diesel stored since Y2-K. Was not ULSD. Was about 12 years old. Tank was kept full in shade. All tractors ran fine. Try to store diesel with PRI-D added when fuel delivered. Keep above ground in shade. Try to keep tanks full unless using that tank. Do not keep gasoline over about 1 year but I do add PRI-G or Stabil to that.
    No problem with this protocol. Briggs and Stratton has a new additive to me that is said to keep carburator clean. Have some not used as yet. Did have a gasoline generator that I have maintained for 15-20 years. Had to have carburator cleaned with
    last power outage. Would definitely keep ethanol free gasoline with stabilizer for chainsaws. A friend of mine in tree business says most his saws were ruined by ethanol fuel. Chainsaws are another prep item that I have neglected and plan to upgrade. Agree with article on propane and use it for emergency heating in house.Had a small Buddy heater in three bedroom suite several years ago. It ran for 21/2 days on 20lb tank and heated space over 65F while freezing outside. No sign of CO toxicity. Heater in bathroom people in bedrooms. Great tool in my opinion. No odor just heat.
    Also we use propane stove in kitchen during outages. Store propane in 20 and 40lb tanks. Suggest Coleman L in camping with hoses to set up “camping kitchen” inside during electric outages. Light, cooking, heat all with one tank. One other thought. Have avoided storing fuel on stands. Concerned about vandals-children opening and leaks. If stored on ground easy to fill, lock everything if necessary. Want to filter all fuel when pumping anyway.

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