The other day I received this e-mail on siphoning gas from cars:
While doing some maintenance work on my gasoline powered electrical generator, the thought struck me that back in the old days, and in case of an emergency, one could always siphon gasoline out of their cars gasoline tank and use it to run things like generators. However, that seems to be not the case nowadays. I tried inserting a conventional siphon hose into my tank but it bottomed-out on some obstruction before it touched any gasoline. I looked under the hood of my car (2001 Toyota Highlander) for a place where I could tie into my fuel line. I found none.
A cursory examination of the bottom of my fuel tank revealed no drain plug. So, I went to a local auto parts store and asked the folks if they had anything to siphon or pump fuel from the tank on any modern car or pickup truck. They had no suggestions.”
Siphoning fuel from a gas tank was easy
In the past, I can remember when we used to siphon gas out of our gas tanks to fuel our lawn mowers or other small engines. Siphoning gas out of the older vehicles was easy, but when was the last time you tried to siphon gas out of a car?
It has been years since I have tried. In a real disaster, like an EMP strike, obtaining gas from damaged vehicles may be necessary to keep older vehicles running when a gas station may not be available. This got me wondering how to siphon gas from the new cars.
A little research into modern-day siphoning revealed that all new cars have an anti-rollover valve on all the openings in a gas tank. These valves, also known as anti-siphon valves, act as a siphon prevention system. This is the reason why nearly all the siphon devices and pumps sold these days are useless. However, there is a way to do it without damaging the vehicle if you have the right tools.
Most gas thieves today simply drill a hole in the gas cap, take what they can, and let the rest run out on the ground.
But there is another way.
The anti-rollover valve is a ball or butterfly valve. This leaves enough room for gas to flow through the fueling tube into the tank, but if the car flips over and gas begins to flow the other direction, the ball moves to the inlet and blocks the gas from escaping or the butterfly flap closes.
How to Siphon Gas in Newer Cars
Step one – gather special tools and insert them into the gas tank
The trick to siphoning gas without damaging the vehicle is to use small diameter, stiff hose like the ¼-inch hose that runs to your refrigerator ice maker. Cut the end at a sharp angle and spin, or “corkscrew”, the hose as you insert it. It may take you a few tries to master this.
Step two – create pressure in the gas tank
You can create pressure in the gas tank by sucking air through the tube. Siphoning works by sucking air through the tube.
You don’t want to blow air into the gas tank because blowing air doesn’t get the gas flowing through the clear tube.
Step three – place the other end of the hose in a container to transfer fuel
When you’ve sucked the gas into the tube, you’ll be able to see it. Place the other end of the tube in a gas receptacle. Depending on the air pressure inside the tank, the gas flow may be quick. Be careful of swallowing gasoline, inhaling gasoline fumes, or gasoline poisoning when sucking air through the clear tubing to get the remaining gas.
Now, siphoning gas through this small tube by gravity is slow and can take up to eight minutes for a gallon of gas. If you can find a small hose with a hand pump like this one, it can go much faster.
- Safely and easily transfer gasoline and other fluids through a siphon intake and discharge system
- Eliminates need for risky mouth siphoning of dangerous chemicals
- Included attachment for adapting to an air pump function for inflation
- Great for home, industrial, marine and farm use
- fit type: Universal Fit
You may want to carry a longer hose for vehicles that will accept it. Just remember that stealing gas or tampering with a gas pump is illegal and should be avoided.
Stop siphoning when you reach the desired amount, or fill your container. If you have excess gas, you may find that the excess turns into bad gas, because gas can go bad after a while!
Siphoning gas in a post EMP world
Almost every reader of One Second After is convinced that virtually every vehicle on the road will suddenly stall and be incapacitated forever. Dr. Arthur T. Bradley, NASA electronic engineer and author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, disagrees.
He says there are so many variables that will affect whether or not the electromagnetic surge will damage vehicles that he believes only 30% or so will be damaged. The rest may experience a slight glitch and then resume running. This doesn’t mean transportation will be a piece of cake in a post-EMP world. With millions of vehicles stranded on every type of road, bridge, and tunnel imaginable, transportation would still be difficult.