Long Term Storage of Gasoline

Gasoline is a vital part of our lives. We use it to power our vehicles and help us get where we need to go. But what happens when we can’t pump gas at the local gas stations? Where can we get our fuel supply?

Gasoline storage is something that should be in every prepper’s toolkit. But, how do we store fuel long-term so that it is safe and will be there when we need it? In this post, we will cover what causes gasoline to degrade and how to store gasoline long-term safely.

What Causes Gasoline to Degrade?

Gasoline does not have an indefinite shelf life. In fact, it has a short shelf life. It’s a bad idea to stockpile gasoline because it goes bad quickly. However, you can still store gas long-term, as long as you’re careful about it.


Three main compounds cause gasoline to degrade:

  • Oxygen
  • Heat
  • Light

All of these compounds cause the molecules in stored gas to break down. As the molecules break down, the gas loses its potency and is no longer usable as fuel. That’s why it’s essential to store your gas in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight. But even if you do that, other factors can cause your gas to go bad.


Gasoline is comprised of hydrocarbons, which are molecules that contain both nitrogen and carbon. Also known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, these hydrocarbons give gasoline its distinctive smell.

These molecules are unstable and tend to break down over time, especially when exposed to oxygen and light. The breakdown of these hydrocarbons is what causes gasoline to degrade.


At the same time, gasoline can pick up water from the air, which also causes it to degrade. Water in fuel is extremely bad for your internal combustion engines and will cause corrosion and damage over time.

What Additives Can You Use to Stop Gasoline from Degrading?

The best way to stop gasoline from degrading is to use additives. There are many different additives on the market, but the most common ones are fuel stabilizers and oxygenates. Fuel stabilizers help keep the hydrocarbons in gasoline from breaking down, while oxygenates help keep water out of the fuel.

Both of these additives can be found at your local auto parts stores or gas stations.

It’s important to note that you should only use additives specifically designed for gasoline. Using other chemicals could potentially do more harm than good.

There are a few different fuel additives in commercial stabilizers that you can use to stop gasoline from degrading.


The most common fuel additive is ethanol, which is a type of alcohol. Ethanol helps stabilize the hydrocarbons in gasoline and prevents them from breaking down.


Butane is another fuel additive that helps stabilize gasoline. It works by absorbing oxygen, which prevents it from entering the fuel and causing degradation.


Propane is similar to butane in that it absorbs oxygen. However, propane is a more effective oxygenate and does a better job of preventing gasoline degradation.

Other additives

Other additives include MTBE, ETBE, AOBA, and oxygenates. These additives all serve different purposes, but they all help keep gasoline fresh for more extended periods of time.

Some new additives are currently being developed that may be even more effective at preventing gasoline degradation.

Extra Benefits of Additives

Putting additives into your fuel tank has some extra benefits beyond just preventing degradation.

Ethanol, for example, helps to clean your engine and prevent corrosion. It also boosts your octane rating, which can improve your fuel economy.

Butane and propane help to improve your engine’s performance by increasing its power and torque.

And oxygenates help to reduce emissions and improve your fuel economy.

How Often Must You Add Additives?

We recommend adding a fuel stabilizer to your gasoline for long-term fuel storage about every six months or so while storing fuel. This will help ensure fresh gas and prevent it from degrading.

However, if you live in an area with high humidity or are exposed to a lot of water, you may want to add an additive more often. You can also add an additive to your gas tank when you fill it up.

How Much Gasoline Should You Store?

How much gasoline you should store depends on a few factors. First, you need to consider how much space you have available for gas storage. If you have a small garage, then you probably won’t be able to store as much gasoline as someone with a large fuel storage shed or garage.

Second, you need to consider how often you use gasoline and for what gas-powered equipment. If you only use gasoline for your lawnmower, then you probably won’t need to store as much as someone who uses gasoline for their car and boat.

Third, you need to consider the climate you live in. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, then you’ll need to store more gasoline so that you have enough to last through the winter or summer.

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Finally, you need to consider the shelf life of gasoline. Gasoline can degrade over time, so you’ll need to rotate your fuel storage every few months or so. A good rule of thumb is to store at least enough gasoline for three months of use. This will ensure that you have enough gasoline in case of an emergency and will allow you to rotate your fuel storage regularly.

You can call your local fire department for more tips on storing gasoline long-term, as they know the laws and local fire codes regarding stockpiling gallons of gasoline.

What Are the Best Storage Containers to Put Your Gasoline In?

Use storage containers made to store gasoline, such as the red plastic fuel cans. You can find these fuel containers at most auto parts stores or gas stations. Do not use milk jugs, soda bottles, or any other type of container that is not explicitly made for gasoline. These containers can leak and are not as safe to use.

Gas containers are typically red; diesel containers are blue. These color codes will help you determine if your stored fuel is diesel or gasoline.

If you choose to use a metal drum to store your fuel, make sure it’s an approved container and that it’s in good condition. The container should be clean and dry inside, with no rust or corrosion. It’s also a good idea to line the bottom of the drum with a layer of gravel to help absorb any moisture that may get in.

Fuel Storage: Where NOT to Store Your Gasoline

Gasoline is a dangerous substance and should be handled with care. Store your gasoline in a cool, dry place away from any heat sources.


Do not store your gasoline near any open flames, such as candles, stoves, or fireplaces. If you live in an area with wildfires, it’s especially important to store your gasoline away from any potential flames or ignition sources such as pilot lights.


You should also avoid storing gasoline near anything that could cause a spark, such as electrical outlets or power tools.

Static Electricity

Gasoline is also highly flammable and can be ignited by static electricity. To avoid this, do not store your gasoline in metal containers. If you must use a metal container, make sure it’s grounded so that static electricity can’t build up and cause a fire.


Keep it in a place out of direct sunlight as the sun’s rays can cause it to become volatile even with fuel stabilizers.


Never store your gasoline inside your home. Not only do you have gas fumes, but the gas cans are a serious fire hazard. The best place to store gasoline is in a detached garage or shed. If you don’t have a garage or shed, you can store your gasoline in a metal storage container placed on a concrete pad in your yard. Make sure the container is labeled “gasoline” and that it’s kept away from any potential flames.

How Long Can You Reasonably Expect Your Gasoline to Last?

With proper storage and fuel additives, gasoline can last for a little over six months. However, it’s a good idea to rotate your gasoline every three months or so. When you rotate your gasoline, be sure to put additives in the fuel tanks. This will help keep the gas fresh and prevent it from degrading while in storage.

Rotating Your Gasoline Stores

To rotate your gasoline stores, simply use the oldest gas first and then fill up with fresh fuel. This will help to ensure that your gasoline is always fresh and that you don’t have any old, degraded fuel sitting in your storage containers.

How to Store Diesel Fuel

Now that we’ve covered gasoline, you may wonder if this works for storing diesel fuel as well. The answer is yes! You can use the same tips for storing diesel fuel as you would for gasoline.

The main difference is that diesel fuel has a longer shelf life than gasoline, so you don’t need to rotate your stores as often. With proper storage and additives, diesel fuel can last for up to a year.

Also, you can add nitrogen into diesel fuel storage tanks. By adding nitrogen into diesel fuel storage tanks, you are removing the atmospheric air that can cause fungus to grow inside.


For the prepper, it’s essential to have enough fuel stored on hand if there is an emergency, natural or man-made. No one wants to be caught in a situation where they can’t get to their bug-out location or can’t run their generator during a power outage because they ran out of gas. By following these simple tips, you can be certain in your knowledge of how to store gasoline long-term safely.

Happy prepping!

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4 thoughts on “Long Term Storage of Gasoline”

  1. I have used Pri-G very successfully storing fuel for 3+ years. It seems to lose some of the btu’s so engines do not quite run at full power but they start quickly and run efficiently. I use abut 1 teaspoon per gallon of gasoline and usually add a teaspoon of a very light lubricant like the Lucas fuel treatment.

  2. “Do not store gasoline in your house, this includes attached garages.”

    …Really? I’d say that 100% of everybody already does that. Every vehicle has an attached gas tank which is sealed with a rubber gasket, just like gas cans utilize. Therefore, not storing gasoline inside your attached car garage is impossible — at least, if you’re using the garage for its intended primary purpose (storing vehicles when you’re not using them).

  3. The gasoline tank in your car is a much safer place to store gas than in misc cans. It won’t get knocked over, is much less likely to leak and is sealed better than most gas cans.

  4. Attached garages are not a great place to store fuel cans either. While building and fire codes vary, I would not be comfortable in a bedroom over an enclosed garage. Recommended practice is that an attached garage have not less than 1 hour fire separation from the rest of the dwelling. In general terms, that requires 4 inches of solid masonry or 1-1/2″ of gypsum board. Your local building official or fire marshall is the best source for current code information for your state.

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