Bulk Storage of Gasoline and Diesel

The two fuels that I intent to discuss today are gasoline and diesel.  Both of them have advantages and disadvantages.  One thing you may need to take into consideration is local fire codes.  In many areas if the tank is not properly installed the fuel companies will not fill it.

Gasoline has the shortest shelf life.  The shelf life varies depending on where you live and when the gasoline is refined.  However, this can be extended be adding a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-Bil or Pri-G.  Just follow the instruction on the container.  Gasoline is arguably the most dangerous.  It has the lowest flashpoint, (the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air).  The flashpoint is approximately -45°F.

The safest way to store gasoline in quantity is an approved underground tank.  Unfortunately, this is expensive.  The above ground tanks are much cheaper.  The big thing to take into consideration with them is where the gasoline will go if there is a leak.  The recommend situation is a berm around the tank that will contain the contents of the tank.  If a berm is not required in your area, place the tank where leaking fuel will not endanger your home, water sources or croplands.

If you intend to store several hundred gallons of gasoline, you need to rotate it.  If you intent to store small amounts of gasoline, see my previous post on this subject.  Do a search under gasoline.

Diesel is a safer fuel to store and has better shelf life.  The flashpoint is considerably higher, approximately 62°F.  According to BP, under normal storage conditions diesel fuel can be expected to stay in a useable condition for:

  • 12 months or longer at an ambient of 20ºC.
  • 6-12 months at an ambient temperature higher than 30ºC.
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Diesel can be stored in underground or above ground tanks the same as gasoline.  The placement of tanks should follow the same rules as for gasoline.  Storage of small quantities should be the same as for gasoline.

The area in which the tanks are located should be kept clear of all flammable vegetation and debris for a safe distance.  If in doubt check with your local fire department.

Tomorrow I will discuss propane.


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8 thoughts on “Bulk Storage of Gasoline and Diesel”

  1. I heard James Wesley Rawles talking about fuel on the Survival Podcast the other day. He does say that propane is the best…

  2. The key fuel is Kerosene, which is the MOST stable of the liquid fuels. Add PRI-D, keep it reasonably cool, and it will last for 20 years. Perfect for small heaters, almost impossible to explode. I have buried 330 gallon totes half way in the ground, filled with Kerosene, added PRI-D. Good almost forever. I have more PRI-D to add years from now if needed.
    Best part, you can add motor oil at a 100/1 ratio, and you can run it in a diesel engine.
    Store Kerosene.

    1. Hi Scott,
      I read your post on preparednessadvice.com about Kerosene fuel storage.
      When I saw the “run in a diesel engine” my eyes were wide open. We have a
      farm and we need an alternate for diesel fuel to use our equipment. Have you
      personally used this kerosene altered fuel in your equipment ? I would like to hear more about this.
      Best Regards,
      Rita Derrick

  3. Rita
    I did a bit of a search on the internet on the subject of running a diesel on kerosene and found quite a bit of information. Search the following question “will a diesel run on kerosene”. The answers are a little confusing, but most say it will if you add additional lubricant to the kerosene.
    Hope this helps.

    1. Kerosene and diesel are alomst the same thing just a slight difference in their ignition temperature. In the UK Kerosene and Gas oil are used, gas oil being the off road version of diesel(we pay duty on road fuel at the pumps)Again the difference is mostly the flash point of the fuels and they are run at different pump pressures in an oil fired boiler generally using different nozzles. Also generally Kerosene is a cleaner fuel(better filtered)and the fumes are not as obnoxious.

  4. My wife and I have been talking about what precautions we can take to make sure we’re prepared for potential disasters. We live far away from town and are concerned what might happen during an emergency. I didn’t realize that diesel is safer to store and is able to maintain its use for longer than regular gasoline. That’s something that we could benefit from, given our situation.

  5. I prefer gasoline actually, with club soda and a maraschino cherry.
    However, when concocting White Lightning, diesel adds more flavor and gas will give you gas.

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