Monday, December 28, 2009

Gasoline Storage & Safety


That being said, it is understood that many of you are contemplating or already storing gasoline for use in snow blowers, generators, tractors, chain saws etc. and are using many different means to do so. Some methods are hazardous and can cause a calamity.

Consider some basic safety facts when making your decision to store gasoline:

Many local codes prohibit residential storage of Gasoline in excess of 5 gallons.

Gasoline is explosive.

Transporting over 50 gallons of Gasoline on a highway requires permits and equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment is Recommended for Handling Gasoline - Gasoline Resistant Gloves - Safety Glasses or Face Shields

Never fill Gasoline Containers inside the bed of a truck or trunk - especially if it has a plastic liner - always place container on the ground when filling at a service station.

Do not get in and out of your vehicle when pumping gasoline - a static charge buildup and resulting spark can ignite gasoline fumes.

Do Not Store Gasoline inside your residence.

NEVER siphon gasoline by mouth using a hose.

NEVER store Gasoline in Glass Containers

Stored Gasoline develops tar, gums and degrades when stored for long periods and can impede proper engine performance.
Like survival food stores - Stored Gasoline needs to be rotated to ensure it will work.
Fuel Stabilizers need to be used if fuel is stored for any period of time over a month.
Gasoline absorbs water (hygroscopic) and can be detrimental to engine components and metal storage containers over time.

Spilling Gasoline into the ground in large quantities can be detrimental to the environment - especially if groundwater is used for drinking!

OK, so you know all that right? Good.

But you have already assessed that you can't survive long on just 5 gallons of gasoline and gas does not last long in storage - especially the gasoline purchased in summer months that is less volatile than that made with extra butane in Winter season.

You have decided that you want to store more without posing a substantial hazard to the community. That might be difficult to do and depending on how much you want to store and where - dangerous.

We can't recommend that you violate any laws or common sense. There are some standard industry practices you should be aware of and storage containers that are considered safe. One is pictured here.

The other is a larger volume idea - a 30 gallon drum with a non sparking pump and non sparking drum lock to keep honest people from pilfering your supply. This is an investment of maybe $140 (online) unless you live in an industrialized area and can get one much cheaper locally. Locks are about $40.

Larger drums can be difficult if not impossible to move around when full for the average homeowner. You will likely not get a code variance to store this much gas on your property in typical residential areas.

Pickup truck mounted construction fuel tanks or underground storage sound plausible but may also be prohibited and obvious in most neighborhoods. Vandalism is a reality as well so any tank not secured from opening is at risk. New tanks for underground storage are available in 100 gallons and up.....consider a vault if doing this so you can inspect the tank and remove it if need be.

If you ever have seen a boat explosion you will be very wary of storing large volumes of fuel - especially if unsafe. Gasoline evaporates in heat and storing fuel out of the direct sun in well ventilated areas is a must. Small quantities in explosion proof containers and storage cabinets is done in commercial environments - generally not homes.

Multiple 5 gallon cans will work if you decide to accept responsibility for more than 5 gallons of stored fuel. One for immediate use, one for storage and one to fill up to top off the others. Transferring fuel between containers requires a grounding and bonding procedure to ensure maximum safety. The US Forest Service has a suitable article about this that anyone can understand LINK HERE

Make sure your portable containers are RED for GASOLINE - BLUE for KEROSENE - YELLOW for DIESEL otherwise you will have serious problems. Make sure you understand the physical characteristics of Gasoline by reading the MSDS LINK HERE

If you need to relocate with some fuel then make sure the containers are DOT approved - not because anyone will be checking labels and issuing citations in an emergency, but for safety sake. If you can secure them on your vehicle or trailer all the better. Jeeps have had these aftermarket features for years and military gas cans are readily available and durable.

One other way to ensure you have some gas (20 gallons?) on hand is to keep your vehicle full at all times - especially in winter when water absorption can combine and cause starting and operating problems. Too bad you won't be able to readily siphon the fuel out of the tank because of new anti-siphon devices.

Consider using diesel for electric generators and kerosene for standby heaters as they are much less volatile but have some particular long term storage considerations as well. Natural gas and propane are other viable alternatives.

Amsoil, Sta-Bil and Pri-G all market fuel stabilizers and Pri-G says it can restore old gas to a useful state and preserve volatility up to 2 years. One Pri-G bottle can preserve around 250 gallons or more.

Added: Make sure you have a suitabable funnel that removes harmful water and debris from contaminating your fuel supply. Mr Funnel has just the product designed for this task ( and do a good job of this.

Always have a suitably large (10lb) dry chemical fire extinguisher on hand to extinguish incipient (small) fires.

We will add to this post - for now you should have some food for thought when considering this idea.

Bottom line....if you need to store more it safely.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to comment on this blog? Please submit comments that pertain to the subject matter if you would be so kiind. Approved comments will be posted as soon as possible. Thank you.