Imagine a power outage in the middle of a terrible winter storm, or running out of gas while evacuating to your bug out location. There are three words to adequately describe you, buddy: in deep trouble.
To avoid that situation, you would want to stock on emergency fuel.
In a disaster, this commodity will be the first one to run out since it’s indispensable in generating electricity, cooking food, keeping our homes warm and our vehicles up and running. Even if you’ve hooked your home up to an alternative energy source like solar power, you can still use emergency fuels as backup in case you can’t produce enough energy due to unfavorable conditions. You would most definitely need fuel to run your car, too.
Here are 6 emergency fuels that you must have in your stash:
Propane is also known as LPG or liquefied petroleum gas. It’s initially stored in its liquid form and released as gas upon use.
Propane can be used for heating, cooking and even as fuel for vehicles. Most preppers prefer to use propane as an emergency fuel because it can be stored safely and indefinitely, as long as their containers remain intact. These containers can come as portable cylinders that can weigh around as little as 14 ounces or as large tanks that can store up to 1000 gallons. As propane gas is highly flammable, many safety features have been built into these containers such as regulators and overfill prevention device valves. These features prevent the tanks from being filled at 100% as doing so would cause leaks and, lead to destructive fuel fires. Safe storage should also be practiced.
Here’s a great tip from Preparedness Advice on propane storage: “Since propane is heavier than air, the gas will flow along the contours of the ground like water, a big consideration is where to place your tanks. Place your tank downhill if possible from your residence and other important locations in case of a leak.” These tanks need to be kept in an upright position and should be re-certified for safety every 10 years.
Gasoline is one of the most common emergency fuels out there, commonly used for vehicles and generators. A few extra gallons of gasoline in an emergency situation can go a long way. But there’s a catch: gasoline has a relatively short shelf life as it can deteriorate after 12 months. The key to long-term gas storage is through additives. Additives like Stabil and PRI-G are used to stabilize gasoline, preventing their deterioration and extending their shelf life. Add them to your gasoline once every year and they should be good as new.
So make sure you anticipate your gasoline needs. How much do you need to reach your bug out destination? How much do you need to fire up your generator? Calculate how much you’ll need and add in an extra gallon or two, just to be sure. Store your emergency gasoline in red plastic containers and regularly rotate your supply.
Every prepper should have a healthy stack of firewood at the ready in case of an emergency. You can use firewood to keep a furnace going in case of bad winter storms and as fuel for fireplaces and wood stoves.
However, you have to remember that firewood is vulnerable to the elements. Expose it to moisture and it becomes virtually useless. Piling chunks of uncut wood would only lead to more moisture and eventually, rotting. Keep it dry and well-seasoned by cutting the logs into the proper size and exposing it to a lot of sun and wind. The best firewood has less than 20% moisture, according to Woodheat.org. A higher moisture content will make it an inefficient fuel source. You’ll have a hard time starting your fire or at best, have lots of smoke, not so much fire. For this reason, using green wood for fuel is discouraged.
Gel fuel is basically an alcohol lamp…in gel form. How’s that possible? It’s made of 90% isopropyl alcohol and a gelling agent like soy wax or calcium acetate. It doesn’t spill or emit smoke, making it the perfect fuel whether you’re camping out or bunkering in. Gel fuel is commercially available in cans that can usually burn for up to 3 hrs straight. You can also make your own and add it to your survival stockpile. While you can’t expect it to warm an entire house, gel fuels can be great in providing additional heat without any risk for leaks or spills. You can also use gel fuels when it’s too dangerous to light a bonfire—say, when you’re camping out in a really dry area at risk for forest fires.
Materials like your junk mail and almond shells can probably save you from freezing one day.
Biomass briquettes are alternative fuel sources made from waste material like corn husks, nut shells, shredded paper and other raw materials. These materials are shredded, mixed and compressed into briquettes that you can use as fuel for cooking, heating and generating electricity. These briquettes can be pretty handy if you live in an area where traditional fuel like firewood is scarce. These are great alternatives to coal and charcoal. Since these briquettes are made of recycled materials, you’re also using environment-friendly fuel. Learn how to make your own briquettes with the video above.
Kerosene or paraffin has been used in the States as fuel since 1800s. Developing countries still use kerosene as their primary source of fuel, too. While somewhat outdated (some groups are pushing for preppers to replace kerosene lamps with solar ones) and relatively dangerous, kerosene can still be a good fuel source in times of emergency. One prepper from Food Storage Moms narrates how kerosene made their life bearable during a terrible economic breakdown in Africa: “We run our deep freezers on it, cook over pressure cookers and use pressure lanterns for our lighting. We also run our old British Lister Diesel generators on it.”
Exercise caution while handling kerosene, though. This substance is flammable so if you’re storing it in bulk, make sure to correctly label your containers (conventionally, blue containers are used for kerosene) and to store it in a cool, well-ventilated place away from heat or sparks. Rotate your kerosene supply every 12 months. If you wish to use kerosene, make sure you check out this fact sheet.
In a disaster, a shortage in fuel supply will be inevitable so it’s important to store up on emergency fuels. Keep various types of fuel on hand so when one doesn’t work, you will still have other fuel sources as backup. It’s also important to know how to properly store your emergency fuels. These are flammable substances so take precautions in storage and handling. In a SHTF situation, you don’t want to be part of the horde scrambling for a dwindling supply of fuel; you want to be the one who’s got an emergency stash ready for any scenario, so start stocking up now!