How To Store Gasoline
For An Emergency

eHow Contributor
Edited 09/2022 by Paul Smith, K5PRS

If the power goes out or Mother Nature forces you to evacuate, you may need an emergency supply of gasoline. Extra gas will keep your generator running or keep your vehicle running when the gas stations go dry or loose power. The following will discuss how to safely store an extra supply of gasoline.

For safe storage, you will need a UL listed and FM approved gasoline safety can. These cans will be made from heavy galvanized steel.

Important features include:

  • Galvanized steel construction resistant to physical abuse,
  • Full handle allow easy pouring and carrying heavy load,
  • Positive pressure relief cap vents automatically to prevent rupture or explosion in case of fire,
  • Spring loaded self-closing lid prevents spills and controls vapor,
  • Internal flame arrester prevents flashback ignition.

Type 1 cans have one opening for pouring and for fillingthe can.
Type 2 cans have one spout with a flexible metal hose for filling and a separate opening for filling the can.
Type 1 cans will be less expensive.

Cans should be filled to 95% of capacity. This will allow room for the gasoline to expand due to higher temperatures.

If you plan to store the gasoline for more than a few months, you should add a preservative. Add the preservative to the fresh gasoline when the tank is filled. The makers of some stabilizers state their product will preserve gasoline for 12 months or, if you double the dose, two years. Preservatives will NOT restore spoiled gasoline.

Do not store gasoline in or near the house. The gasoline should be stored in a separate well-ventilated area with no operating electrical equipment or open flames. A shed well away from the house is ideal.

Fuel Storage
Avoid storing fuel in your generator’s tank as it will break down within a few weeks and form gums and varnish in your fuel system that will clog your carburetor. Always store gas somewhere away from your generator. Before storing gas, add a fuel stabilizer to extend the storage life. Fuel stabilizers are sold in hardware, home supply, automotive and outdoor equipment stores. With stabilizer, gasoline can last up to six months but preferably should be used within three months. If you have several cans, rotate them taking the oldest to the gas station and pouring it into your gas tank before refilling the can and topping off you vehicle’s tank.

Amount of Fuel
How much gas you store will depend on the fuel consumption rate of your generator. The higher the wattage of your generator the more gas it will burn per hour of operation. Figure on using your generator six to eight hours out of each day. For typical household generators rated around 2,500 to 3,500 watts, 25 gallons is enough to sustain your critical systems for three to four days. Some municipalities limit the amount of gas you can store at home so check with your local fire department. Again, it is a good idea to rotate your fuel stock to keep it fresh.

Type of Container
Containers for your gasoline should be approved for flammable liquid storage. They should be of robust construction and designed to store your fuel in any weather, hot or cold. Never use milk jugs or other makeshift containers for your fuel store. Containers should be of a size and design that is relatively easy to handle and be able to dispense gasoline without splashing. Such cans typically hold 5 gallons. It is a good idea to have a small gas can of 1 or 2 gallons capacity that you fill from your large 5-gallon gas can and then use to fill your generator’s fuel tank.

Where to Store
Never store gasoline in your house. Gasoline is dangerous. Keep your fuel store in a shed, freestanding garage, or other secure, well-ventilated outbuilding away from the house. In event of a house fire or a natural disaster that damages your house, you do not want to have gallons and gallons of highly flammable liquid down in your basement. Never smoke or have any open flame in your fuel storage structure, which means not starting vehicles, powered lawn equipment or lighting barbecue grills where a spark or flame might catch fumes and keep a fire extinguisher for flammable liquids nearby.

That concludes tonight’s training. Are there any questions, comments or suggested additions to this material?

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