Fuel Storage Basics

Fuel Storage Basics
this article was first posted on 10 May 2013 06:00 AM PDT It has good info on the storage of fuel if you would like to add comments feel free to do so.  As for The Pirates Republic we recommend that you try to standardize your fuel. For example cook stoves, heating elements and lanterns can be fueled by one Lbs. propane bottle or adapted for use from larger bottles. Water heaters as well as coffee makers and even generators  can also be fueled by propane. Many “experts” espouse the versatilities of different fuels  utilizing the “eggs in one basket” theory. I call bumpkiss! if you standardize your fuel just like you should do your ammo you will be able to utilize your resources to effect more of your prep items. Common sense tells you that if you have five different fuel requirements you will have to spread your limited resources over a variety of needs. thus if you can keep your fuel requirements to a standard need then you can use one fuel source to accommodate another tool. I am not saying don’t have back ups, I am saying if you standardize you can stretch your fuel budget further. Also if your were to choose 1 lbs. propane bottles you can always fill them via a larger RV type bottle. Also a 1 lbs. bottle is easier to barter with should the time come for that. Enjoy the article if you agree or disagree or just want to chime in then please do so.

Having a supply of fuel is very important for emergency situations and disaster preparedness alike.  You never know when you might need emergency fuel for transport, heat, or cooking.  With the importance of fuel comes the importance of fuel storage.  Storing a surplus of fuel requires careful handling, planning, and an understanding of different kinds of fuel.

Different fuels have different shelf lives and necessitate different storage procedures.  As a general rule, always color code and/or label containers with different fuels.  Also, store fuel only in sturdy, durable containers with good seals.  Here is a breakdown of some large scale fuel storage tips for different kinds of fuel.

Standard Gasoline

Gasoline can be optimally stored for about two years.  After this time petroleum tends to go ‘stale’ and may not be ideal for motors.  There are, however, stabilizing agents you can buy and add to the gasoline to keep it better for longer.  Always store gas in a durable, sealed, preferably red, container out of direct sunlight in a ventilated space.

Diesel Fuel

Diesel fuel has a short shelf life–anywhere from 6-12 months.  Because diesel fuel oxidizes after it leaves the refinery and sediments form that can clog motors, stabilizers should be added to the fuel to slow this process.  Diesel should not be stored for more than two months, so use up the supply in a vehicle or generator then rotate your supply.


Propane should always be stored outdoors in a well-ventilated area.  Place the propane tank upright on concrete away from any other flammable objects or liquids.  Storing away from wet areas or places where large amounts of water won’t fall on the tank is also a good idea to prevent rust on the tank cylinder.


Kerosene doesn’t evaporate as quickly as gasoline and can remain stable while being stored without any extra treatments.  Because of this, kerosene is an easy and popular fuel to store.  Make sure kerosene containers are well labeled and possibly stored in a different colored container than gasoline or other fuels.  Kerosene has a shelf life of about 3 months and there is a risk of mold forming in the containers for longer storage, so rotate your kerosene.


While less popular in large scale fuel storage than propane or kerosene, butane has a variety of uses in heating and cooking.  If you need to throw on a pack and take to the woods, butane can be your companion for cooking and starting fires.  Store butane in a cool, dry place out of direct sun.  The canisters have a high resistance to heat, but always keep them out of extreme temperatures for good measure.

Dry Fuel (Charcoal, Coal, & Wood)

The dry fuels are the easiest to store since they are not extremely volatile compounds like most liquid fuels.  Most of the time having canisters, waterproof containers, and a dedicated area for the fuel is the best storage plan.  Keep firewood away from the house and covered to prevent it getting wet if left out in the open.  Both coal and charcoal should be kept dry and in some kind of container or bin.  Make sure to keep these fuels separate from any flammable liquids.


by Ben Vaughn

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