The world isn’t running solely on green energy.
Not yet. Gasoline is still the number one fuel source in the world, and it’s probably what your car is running off of (Tesla will catch up, but for now, this is what we have to work with).
A disaster strikes. What’s the first few things that people go for?
But how much should you have? Should you “hoard” it, or at least store a sensible amount? How long can you store gasoline?
Before you get carried away with all your questions, let me tell you that we’re about to answer everything, and tell you exactly what you need to know about storing gas in an emergency situation. Preparation is everything, so let’s get to it.
How Long Can You Store Gasoline Without Additives?
There’s a reason that when you roll up to the pump, you see that most gasoline has percentages of additional elements on the labels. Pure gasoline doesn’t last for long at all.
Pure gasoline would begin to evaporate through oxidation in as little as three months. By the end of a six-month span, an entire barrel of gasoline could be entirely gone.
Ethanol gas doesn’t even last that long. It can begin to evaporate in about two to three weeks. Apart from the environmental problems and issues with flammable vapor in the air, you’re also going to run out of gas if you let it sit there for too long without anything in it.
If you’ve ever reached into the back of the shed for that old gas can and thought, “I could have sworn I left more in here,” you’re not crazy—there was more in there. Gasoline will evaporate.
This is why you’re supposed to lock them in airtight containers to help prolong the process, but you’re also supposed to put additives in them. We’re going to go over long-term storage next.
How to Store Gasoline Long Term
Long-term storage is a bit of a different ballgame. You can’t just put your gasoline in an airtight container and call it a day; you need to do this with other measures in place as well.
Your gasoline won’t last long without additives. Without stabilizers, your gasoline will evaporate. Stabilizers help to prevent evaporation and stop your gasoline from breaking down when it’s simply just sitting there in a container.
You need these stabilizers. Period. If you don’t use them, your gasoline is going to last for about 20% as long as it potentially could, and those are optimistic numbers.
How Much Gasoline Should You Store?
There are layers to this question, so let’s peel them back one at a time. Storing gasoline is a serious thing; I don’t want to leave anything out.
Gasoline for Fleeing the City
Let’s assume that you just want gasoline to drive your car in the event of an emergency. You live in the city, or you’re in the suburbs and just want to know you can drive for hundreds of miles without running out of gas. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Take the MPG of your car, and determine an area from your home that you would feel safe. That could be twenty miles ora hundred miles from your home.
Find that distance and use that. Match your MPG against the distance, and determine how many gallons of gas you would need for that transit.
From there, you should account for four times that amount of gas: that accounts for the trip to, the trip home (when things settle down), and surplus gas for travelling around if needed while bugging out.
Then you have to account for gasoline you might need while bugging out. If you’re bringing a gasoline camping stove with you, then you’re going to need a gasoline tank that you can refill while you’re out.
If you can’t refill it, just be sure to grab enough gasoline to run your gas stove for a few months (preferably not with a case of 16oz butane canisters).
Planning Enough Gasoline for Your Homestead
That all sounds simple enough, but it gets more difficult when you have an off the grid homestead.
Assuming that you’re going for as much power independence as possible, gasoline stoves end up looking pretty good since electricity use (from renewable sources) gets expensive. In a proper homestead where you’re growing your own food and handling your own livestock, there are more needs for gasoline.
Powering a lawn mower, weed wacker, keeping those crops cleared out with leaf blowers, what have you. Depending on where you live, you could need gasoline for a snow blower as well, not to mention tractors and vehicles for transportation.
How do you calculate all of that?
Start off with your MPG. How far would you potentially have to go from your homestead to gather supplies or check on family? If you have an evacuation route in mind, how far away is it?
I can’t tell you what those numbers are, you have to calculate them based on your vehicle, mileage, and plans.
Next, find the efficiency ratings for any tools you have on your homestead, from tractors to lawn mowers and more. You’ll have to be more efficient in how you use them and time yourself. You will want about three to six months worth of gas to operate these items.
I know it’s not an exact number, but in short, you want to operate your stove and gas-powered tools for three to six months, and have enough gasoline to let your car still be a viable escape route and utility option.
How to Stock up on Gasoline
Buy it in small increments. Get a few gallons at a time and rotate it out. You can store gasoline in large quantities while being on a budget if you’re smart about it. This is how you properly stock up on gasoline.
- Get airtight containers that can hold onto gasoline without massive evaporation. Check the seals yourself to be perfectly certain.
- Store gasoline canisters at least 50 feet away from your home. Preferably in a shed or detached garage.
- Do not store more than five gallons of gasoline bottle-to-bottle or in the same container (EPA guidelines). Check local laws to be sure.
- Only fill gas canisters about 90-95% of the way to account for minor expansion.
- Ensure there are no potential causes for ignition in the containment area.
Are There Legal Limits to Gasoline Storage?
Technically there are no federal laws surrounding gasoline storage, only local and state laws. While the EPA recommends storing no more than five gallons of gasoline in the same confined area, they’re not going to kick down your door for doing so.
States like New York have strict fire codes (for obvious reasons), which prohibit you from storing more than 2.5 gallons in the same location. You’ll have to look up local laws to really know for sure.
The reason for this is simple, and it actually makes quite a lot of sense: we don’t want powder kegs everywhere.
A ton of gasoline stored together and stored improperly in a non-controlled, non-commercial area without the equipment, staff, or methods to maintain fuel properly is a recipe for disaster in many instances.
It makes sense, you just have to find a safe way around it so that you can store enough gasoline to hunker down when SHTF without breaking any laws, and most importantly, keep your family safe at all times.
Rotate Your Gasoline so it Doesn’t go to Waste
There’s a rule in food service and safety that you can apply here. It’s called FIFO: first in, first out. Whatever the first canister of gasoline is to enter your storage, it has to be the first one you use, no matter what.
It sounds counterintuitive to stockpiling, but it’s not about having more, it’s about having more that you use efficiently. One-hundred gallons of gasoline is valuable, but one-hundred gallons of gasoline that is poorly rotated is basically garbage.
As we just read in the previous section, stocking up on gasoline effectively will be a make-or-break deal. Even if you’re only able to plan
Fueled for Anything
You’ll be fueled up for absolutely anything that crosses your path. Picturing these endgame scenarios is unsettling, but if you’re prepared for the worst, then what is there to worry about?
Rotate your gasoline, don’t store too much, and be sure to keep a very close eye on your storage. Barrels of flammable liquid need to be kept under lock and key, and temperature controlled. Do it right, and you’ll be ready for the worst.