When the power grid goes down, the last thing you want is to wait in line with the unprepared folks at the gas station.
Plus, your car isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when you run out of gas. What if you need to use a generator or other gas-powered equipment?
All things considered, it makes sense to store at least a few gallons of gasoline. Here’s all you need to know about gasoline storage:
Proper Gasoline Storage
It’s no secret that gasoline is a hazardous liquid. If not stored safely, it can burn your house down in minutes. To prevent your home from turning into ashes, here are a few tips on how to store gasoline properly:
Keep in Approved Safety Containers
The only appropriate way to store gasoline is in an approved fuel can or tank. Fire codes typically restrict gas storage to no more than 25 gallons, so store gas in containers of 5 gallons or less. Just remember to leave some room to allow for expansion and always keep containers tightly closed.
Store at Room Temperature
Gasoline is highly flammable, so you must keep it away from potential heat sources. The sun, a water heater, a space heater, or a furnace are a few examples.
Put in a Separate Building
Never leave gas containers inside your home for obvious reasons. It’s a serious fire hazard and a public health hazard as well. It could also result in a fire or explosion, which can destroy your house and cause injury or death. A shed or garage is the best place to store gasoline or in a well-ventilated area outside. Aside from that, you must keep gasoline away from ignition sources such as candles and gas open-flame equipment.
Check with Your Local Authorities
Before you decide to go all out storing fuel at home, don’t forget to check with your local and state governments for standards and regulations on gasoline storage.
Types of Gasoline Containers
If you’re looking for long-term gasoline storage, it’s a no-no to place your gas in milk jugs like what most common folks do because plastic becomes brittle over time.
Other containers like anti-freeze jugs and glass containers are also not compatible with gasoline because they’re not strong enough to withstand the pressures of expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes.
To store gasoline safely, it’s a must that you place it in the proper containers. Here are the different types of gas containers that you should look into:
When looking for approved gas containers, you’ll learn that a jerry can is the most common option. This fuel can is, in fact, a popular liquid container in the armies and the household.
It’s made of pressed steel or plastic and is usually differentiated into four colors depending on the contents. The following colors and their uses are:
- Red for petrol or any flammable liquid
- Blue for kerosene
- Yellow for diesel
- Green for oil or any combustible liquid
If you wanna save a few trips from the gas station or gas tank, a fuel caddy might just be the perfect gas container for you. Its electric pump and hose also make refueling your bug-out vehicle fast and convenient.
This portable tank stores fuel well, too. With its load capacity, you’ll have enough to fill your gas-powered tools or vehicles just in case there’s a loss of supply when the power grid goes down.
Above-ground Fuel Tank
Wanna go big? You could go all out and have a storage tank installed right within your property. If you plan to put one up, an above-ground fuel tank is better than an underground storage tank. Here’s why:
- A smaller tank takes up less room on the site.
- It’s less expensive because it doesn’t require excavation and backfill.
- This type of tank is easier to maintain since visual inspections are possible instantly.
- It has a longer lifespan compared to the underground tank that’s prone to corrosion.
- Relocation is feasible, and you can even sell it to new landowners.
How to Handle Gas Safely
Now that we’ve covered how to store gasoline safely, let’s dive into how to handle it properly to avoid unwanted accidents. Here are some safety reminders to keep in mind:
- It’s common sense that you shouldn’t smoke anywhere near where fuel is handled, especially at the pump.
- It can’t be avoided that you’ll get gasoline on your skin. To steer clear of potential skin irritations, wash with soapy water right away.
- You’ll probably get gasoline on your vehicle, too. Make sure you wipe the area down with a wet paper towel or moist rag.
- You should only use gasoline for its intended purposes. Don’t mix even a small amount of it with kerosene or diesel, and never use gasoline in kerosene heaters or lamps.
- To avoid suffocation and for better ventilation, handle gasoline outdoors.
- For minor spills, let sawdust, paper, or a rag absorb the gasoline. Larger spills may be contained and collected. Also, check with your local government or hazardous waste disposal center for proper disposal.
- For any surfaces that come into contact with gasoline, make sure you remove all remnants of gas before you smoke or light a match near them.
How Long Does Gasoline Last?
If you’re gonna stock up on gasoline in your household, you don’t wanna let it go to waste, so it’s best to know how long you can keep it in storage.
Ideally, standard gasoline should be used within 30 days. But if you follow proper storage guidelines, you can store it for as long as three to six months, and it will remain of good quality.
However, just because it starts to go bad after a month, it doesn’t mean it becomes toxic or unusable. BUT its efficiency does go down over time due to oxidation and evaporation of its volatile compounds.
In reality, you never know when a disaster could strike, and it could force your family to evacuate to your bug-out location. If you don’t have fresh gas to fuel your car, older gas still works but expect a few bumps and hiccups along the way.
Still, be cautious about using old gas because it can cause some long-term damages to your vehicle, and they might cost you a large sum of money to fix them after the emergency.
How to Spot the Difference between Old and Contaminated Gas
One thing that you should also watch out for is using contaminated gas. Why? It can lead to corrosion that can damage your fuel system.
So the question is, how can you differentiate between old and contaminated gas? You just have to pour a small amount of your stored gas and freshly pumped gas into two separate glass containers and compare. Here’s how to tell the difference:
slightly darker and smells sour = old gas
significantly discolored and contains sediment = contaminated gas
How to Reuse Old Gasoline
Don’t immediately throw away old gasoline; you can pretty much salvage it if you combine it with fresh gas. Your engine may sputter with the mixture, but it’ll work just fine, and it’s better than disposing of it.
For gas-powered equipment, fill the fuel tank with one-part fresh gas per one-part old gas. Then, if you wanna use old gas for your vehicle, you can just top it off with the new gasoline.
Remember never dispose of gasoline in trash bins, drains, sewers, lakes, and streams because it can contaminate local water sources. Instead, get in touch with your city waste department for the proper disposal site in your area.
Gasoline is not something you mess around with. It can bite you in the butt if not stored and handled carefully.
So, make sure you got the guidelines on gasoline storage down pat when you decide to stock up in your household for when S hits the fan.
Trust us; your gallons of gasoline will be helpful in the event of a grid-down scenario and it won’t just be sitting in your shed.
Do you have gasoline stored on your property? Share how everything went in the comments section below!