Top Tips for Storing Gasoline for Survival

By Nick Oetken
Publish Date:

Top Tips for Storing Gasoline for Survival

Nick Oetken
Stockpile of gasoline
Stockpile of gasoline

Here’s a fun fact: the average American adult uses around a gallon and a half of gasoline a day (and sometimes far more). Every day, just under four hundred million gallons of gasoline are consumed.

In a disaster scenario where gasoline is no longer so readily available, it’s going to take a massive toll on our civilization and you specifically and will greatly affect the way you survive.

This is why it’s so critical to store enough gasoline to, at a minimum, run your generator for a few weeks and to get to your bug out location in your vehicle and back.

Another reason to store gasoline is that it will easily be one of the most valuable commodities on the planet and will be worth even more than gold. In fact, gasoline will be equally as valuable as other necessities such as food, water, and ammunition.

Time and time again, it has been shown that during war or times of crisis, gasoline is one of the very first things to go. It happened during the Bosnian war, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s happening right now in Syria.

Now, remember: storing too much gasoline can be a liability as we discussed previously. No one is suggesting that you need to build a secret underground tank that can hold ten thousand gallons of it.

However, you do need to realize that gasoline will be a very precious and lifesaving commodity in the event of a large-scale disaster, and you need to store just enough of it to get you through.

Your bug out vehicle, your generator, and any gas-powered tools such as a chainsaw that you have rely on it.

How Long Will Gasoline Last?

The very first thing you need to understand about storing gasoline is that it is perishable. This is why you need to rotate your gasoline stockpile just as you would your water stockpile, food stockpile, and even your ammo stockpile.

When gasoline is exposed to the air, this will result in it oxidizing.

Plan to rotate out your stockpile of gasoline a minimum of once per year
Plan to rotate out your stockpile of gasoline a minimum of once per year

If your gasoline oxidizes too much, it can cause your vehicle’s engine to become clogged up and possibly even be destroyed. This is why you need to be extremely wary about using old gasoline, especially in newer engines.

As a general rule of thumb, plan on rotating out your gasoline stockpile a MINIMUM of once per year.

While it is true that gasoline can last for two or three years if properly sealed with no exposure to the air whatsoever, you still want to play things on the safe side. Rotating it out once per year is the best course of action for you to take.


Can You Legally Store Gasoline?

Yes, you can, but there are recommendations and restrictions from the government.

The EPA, for example, recommends that you store a maximum of five gallons of gasoline in your home.

Fire departments will generally recommend that you store no more than twenty-five gallons.

You also need to look into any laws that your state or city may have. Certain states are far more restrictive than others.

Check your local state laws for guidelines about storing gasoline
Check your local state laws for guidelines about storing gasoline

In New York, for example, you have to acquire a license to store more than a hundred and ten gallons of gasoline at your home.

In California, you may only store gasoline as long as you store it in a state-approved container.

Your best resource for information on the state and local laws for storing gasoline and fuel will be your local fire department.

How to Properly Store Your Gasoline

Here are some basic tips you can use for storing your gasoline properly.

Remember that gasoline is highly flammable, so safety is of paramount concern here:

Store most of your gasoline in containers that hold five gallons or less
Store most of your gasoline in containers that hold five gallons or less
  • Store most of your gasoline in containers that hold five gallons or less. This makes them more portable.
  • Store your gasoline away from all sources of heat, including heaters, sunlight, or water heaters.
  • Gasoline vapors are flammable, so they can travel to sources of ignition. Keep your gasoline fifty feet away from all lights.
  • NEVER store gasoline indoors or in any room connected to your house. In an outdoor storage shed, garage, or outside underneath some tarps are the best places to store your containers.
  • When filling up your containers, only fill them up ninety five percent of the way in order to allow expansion.
  • NEVER store gasoline inside a vehicle.
Red plastic safety containers
Red plastic safety containers
  • Always store gasoline in an area that is well ventilated.
  • Make it a habit to always refill your vehicle with gasoline when it reaches half a tank.
  • NEVER store your gasoline in a location that is easy for everyone to see (such as strapping them to the outside of your vehicle).
  • ALWAYS check with your local fire department for advice, guidelines, and to check up on the laws and regulations.
Store it in a ventilated area
Store it in a ventilated area
  • Only use plastic containers that are meant to store gasoline; NEVER store gasoline in containers that are not meant to store it.
  • Only use containers that are brand new and in good condition; NEVER buy used gasoline containers.

Hopefully this article has served as an informative and educational overview on how to properly store gasoline for survival.

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