When the power grid goes down, the last thing you want is to wait in line with the unprepared folks at the gas station.
In emergency situations, time isn’t on your side, so lining up last minute to fuel your vehicle is a complete waste of it.
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 how to store gasoline:
Tips on How to Store Gasoline
It’s no secret that gasoline is a hazardous liquid. If not stored properly, it can burn your house down in minutes. To stop your home from turning into ashes, here are a few tips on how to store gasoline safely:
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 keep gas in containers of 5 gallons or less. Just leave some room to allow for expansion and close every container tightly.
Store at Room Temperature
Gasoline is highly flammable, so keep it away from potential heat sources, like:
- Water heaters
- Space heaters
Put Your Gasoline in a Separate Building
Never leave a gas container inside your home for obvious reasons—it’s a serious fire and public health hazard. It can destroy your house and cause injury or death.
The best place to store gasoline is in a shed, garage, or a well-ventilated area outside. Aside from that, keep gasoline away from ignition sources such as candles and gas open-flame equipment.
Check with Your Local Authorities
Before you go all out and buy every gasoline can in your area, don’t forget to check with your local and state governments for standards and regulations on gasoline storage.
What Gas Container Should You Use?
If you want to know how to store gasoline long term, the first thing to learn is that placing your gas in milk jugs is a big no-no. Most folks do this, but it’s not a good idea because plastic becomes brittle over time.
Other containers like anti-freeze jugs and glass containers aren’t suitable for gasoline, either. They’re not strong enough to withstand the pressures of expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes.
To store gasoline safely place it in the proper gas container.
Here are the different types of gasoline containers you should look into:
When looking for approved gas containers, you’ll learn that a jerry can is the most common option. This gasoline can is, in fact, popular in the army and in regular households.
Jerry cans are made of pressed steel or plastic and are usually separated 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 to 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.
- 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 instantly possible.
- It has a longer lifespan compared to the underground tank, which is 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 talk about the right way to handle it and avoid unwanted accidents. Here are some safety reminders to keep in mind:
- Don’t smoke anywhere near where fuel is handled, especially at the pump.
- You may not be able to avoid getting gasoline on your skin. Wash with soapy water ASAP to steer clear of potential skin irritations.
- You’ll probably get gasoline on your vehicle, too. Wipe the area down with a moist rag or wet paper towel.
- Use gasoline only 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.
- Handle gasoline outdoors to avoid suffocation and for better ventilation.
- For minor spills, let sawdust, paper, or a rag absorb the gasoline. Larger spills may be contained and collected. Check with your local government or hazardous waste disposal center for proper disposal.
- For any surfaces that come into contact with gasoline, remove all remnants of gas before you smoke or light a match near them.
How Long Does Gasoline Last?
It’s best to know how long you can store gasoline if you don’t want your stockpile to go to waste.
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 its quality will remain good.
However, just because it starts to go bad after a month doesn’t mean it becomes toxic or unusable. 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 damage to your vehicle, and it might cost you a large sum of money to fix after the emergency.
How to Spot the Difference Between Old and Contaminated Gas
Watch out for contaminated gas. It can lead to corrosion that can damage your fuel system.
The question is, how can you distinguish contaminated gasoline from old gas? Just pour a small amount of your stored gas and freshly pumped gas into two separate glass containers and compare them.
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 throw away old gasoline immediately—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, just top it off with the new gasoline.
If you need to dispose of gasoline, never throw it in trash bins, drains, sewers, lakes, or streams. It can contaminate local water sources. Instead, get in touch with your city waste department to know the designated disposal site in your area.
Gasoline isn’t something you mess around with. If you don’t store and handle it with care, it can bite you in the butt one day.
But when you’ve stockpiled gallons of the stuff the way we taught you to, that gasoline will be extremely handy in a grid-down scenario. Trust us—those containers won’t just be sitting in your shed.
Have gasoline stockpiled on your property? What type of gas container did you use and how did you store it? Let us know in the comments!