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.
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.