Long-Term Fuel Storage

by Alex Vanover, My Family Survival Plan When it finally happens and the proverbial “stuff hits the fan,” it’s probably going to be bad. Say “goodbye” to fully stocked shelves at the grocery store, readily available medical care, and just about every other modern comfort you can think of. Everything as we know it today will change in the blink of an eye. I’m not saying that overnight our society will be transformed into a post-apocalyptic scenario like in Mad Max where we all become War Boys scouring the wastelands looking for fuel and supplies while screaming, “For Valhalla!” I’m just saying it’s not going to be pretty, and preparation will be key when everything comes crashing down. As in most apocalyptic movies there are usually three crucial things that every person needs to survive in a catastrophe: food, medical supplies, and fuel. I’m assuming most people are already aware of the need to stockpile food and medical supplies, but fuel is often overlooked. Many people are unaware of the need to store fuel. Not just for the family van, but for heatcookingelectricity, and of course transportation. When I say fuel storage, I am not just talking about gasoline. We also have to consider kerosene for heating, propane and butane for cooking, and diesel and gasoline for generators and transportation. Storing Kerosene Kerosene should be stored in a container that is approved for this specific fuel. I’m sure you’ve seen the different colored gas cans in the hardware stores. There is a reason for the different colors; it isn’t just to make them look pretty. Blue is the color container that is earmarked just for Kerosene. Therefore, if you need a storage container for this fuel, you will need to purchase a blue-colored container. As with most fuels Kerosene will start to degrade after about three months of normal storage. This degradation can be postponed though by following a few guidelines. First, when filling the container leave a little air in the top for fuel expansion from changes in temperature. Always avoid using open containers. An open container can lead to water contamination and oxidation resulting in bad or poor performing fuel. You always want to store Kerosene in a cool and dry location. The use of fuel additives can also greatly extend the life of Kerosene. A fuel stabilizer such as PRI-D will extend the life of this fuel from several months to even years if the fuel is re-treated with a fuel stabilizer periodically. Storing Propane and Butane How do you store Propane and Butane? Aren’t pressurized containers dangerous? They can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to store them. Propane should always be stored in a dry and well ventilated area, preferably in a storage shed located away from residential areas. Never store propane containers in an area where there may be a source of ignition such as garages or a well/pump house. You also want to be sure that propane and butane storage containers are not kept in any areas that may cause the container to rust. Butane specifically requires a cool and dry storage location, but it must also be stored indoors at all times and never placed in direct sunlight for any length of time. Be sure to watch for possible ignition sources with Butane such as electrical outlets, stoves, and other heat sources. Improper storage of these pressurized containers may result in an explosion, a runaway canister, or a dangerous gas leak. Storing Gasoline and Diesel Probably the most commonly used fuels we need are gasoline and diesel. It can be difficult to determine how much of these fuels you should store. Usage factor is determined on an individual basis. A single person may not need as much gasoline as someone with a family of six. I can get buy on a relatively small generator to power what I need, but someone with a large family may need a lot of gasoline or diesel to power a larger generator to meet their needs. Storage of gasoline and diesel is very similar to that of kerosene. They must be stored in a location that is dry and cool to maximize the storage life. Remember, it is vitally important to keep condensation away from any fuel you are storing. Water and air don’t play well with stored fuels. Also, don’t forget to store gas and diesel in their appropriately colored containers. Red is for gasoline and yellow is for Diesel. Gasoline can normally be stored for up to three months before it begins to break down and lose its effectiveness. Diesel can typically be stored for up to six months. As with kerosene, gasoline and diesel can benefit from the addition of a fuel stabilizer. Fuel stabilizers such as STA-BIL Storage and STA-BIL Diesel can keep fuel fresh and ready for use for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, we can’t keep gas and diesel fresh indefinitely. The best way to keep a fresh supply of fuel is to use what we have stored when it is close to going bad and then replenish our stock. With proper rotation of stored fuel and proper storage techniques we can easily be prepared for just about any situation. By Alex Vanover

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