Gasoline Storage : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

With the evidence mounting that gasoline may well be in extremely short supply for some period after the rollover, I thought it timely to again discuss this topic.

There are a couple of ways to store gasoline safely; a large-capacity (250 gallon) "farm tank", and 55 gallon steel drums.

The large tanks can be purchased from farm supply outlets. Check with places like Farm & Fleet, or feed stores. From what I know, the price is around $150. These tanks are elevated, so just plumb them, and you're good to go.

Alternatively, 55 gallon steel drums (petroleum-rated) will work well. (This is the method I used.) The drums (new) cost about $30 each. Look in the yellow pages under BARRELS. There is an advantage to the drums in that you can take them singly to the gas station to fill them, and have more placement options; with the large tank, you'll have to find a bulk fuel supplier to come out to your place (not always easy to find), and your placement options are quite limited (think theft).

There is no danger when filling the drums as long as you: 1) ground the drums, and 2) keep the fuel nozzle in contact with the bung hole of the drum. (NO SNICKERING HERE... (grin))

For grounding, I used a 10' length of copper wire, with one end under the bottom of the drum, and the other on the pavement (wife stands on it to make SURE it's got good contact.) Please make SURE that 6" or so at each end of the wire are BARE of insulation....

Only fill the drums to about 53 gallons, to allow expansion room. Gasoline in the ground is colder than it will be in the drums, and WILL expand slightly, ESPECIALLY if the environment where the drums will be stored is WARM. Another thing, leave the SMALL bung plug loosened slightly to allow any pressure to be vented. Once the temperature of the gasoline has stabilized (about 24-72 hours), you can tighten the plug securely.

A hand-truck for moving the drums is required. (Drums weigh about 400 lbs when full.) As horrible as that weight sounds, it's not as bad as you think. Having two or more people to help get the drum off the trasport is handy, if you don't have a ramp.

BEFORE FILLING, you should have added a fuel stabilizer (Sta-Bil or Pri-G) to the drum. This allows the stabilizer to mix with the fuel properly.

Now, as to getting the gasoline OUT of the drums, you will need a cast iron rotary hand pump, petroleum-rated. These can be purchased at a resonable price (less than $50) from Global Industrial Equipment (800-6-GLOBAL). Get their catalog, you'll be GLAD you did! (They also have bung wrenches, which you'll need for the plugs.)

Now, just label the drums, and tuck them away for future use. If nothing happens, you can just use the gas after the start of the year. (NOTE: Pri-G is far better than Sta-Bil, and you use less of it. Do a Yahoo/Excite search for the web-site)

WARNING: DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC PUMP, or one that fits onto the end of an electric drill, unless you have a death-wish.

As to safety... My step-father stored gasoline like this for decades, and never ONCE blew himself (or anyone else) up. Don't be paranoid, just use your head. LIQUID GASOLINE WILL NOT BURN, AND IS NOT FLAMMABLE. (I know this sounds nutz, but it's true!) The only thing that burns is gasoline VAPOR. During the expansion phase of your storage, it's important to keep the area of the drums well ventilated. After you seal them up, it no longer really matters.

I hope this information will prove to be helpful.

ONE FINAL POINT: DO NOT use buried tanks/drums. The EPA has STRICT regs on this, and if you're caught, you'll have to pay the cleanup costs associated with digging up the tank, along with leakage cleanup and HEAVY fines. There may even be jail time required. Keep that in mind.


54 days remain.

-- Dennis (, November 07, 1999


Good stuff, a couple comments though....

"There is an advantage to the drums in that you can take them singly to the gas station to fill them, and have more placement options..."

There are a couple downsides to filling drums at the station. The folks at the station know what you're doing as will any curious eyes along your way home (if you don't conceal them). Then too it's dangerous and even illegal in some places.

"WARNING: DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC PUMP, or one that fits onto the end of an electric drill, unless you have a death-wish".

Do not use an INAPPROPRIATE electric pump. Northern and others offer electric fuel transfer pumps (and manual ones in the $25 range) for gas or diesel. They work just fine. I use a Holley aftermarket automotive electric fuel pump (the Red model at 97 gph) with 8 feet of 3/8th's gas hose on either side and 20 foot electrical leads ending in a cig lighter plug.

My big van has dual tanks. Upon my return trip from town I pull up next to the "drum farm" at the ranch, drop the inlet hose into my front tank and the outlet into whichever drum I'm filling and plug in the power cord. 10 minutes later I have about 15 more gallons safely in a drum (more if I pump some from the rear tank). Works well, safer, and no one in town is the wiser.

Do note the static precautions mentioned above (like don't fill a gas can/drum in a truck on a bedliner, ie. insulator). I ground the drums AND put a antistatic strap (from NAPA auto parts, $5) on my van for safety.


-- Don Kulha (, November 07, 1999.

I've got a 300 gallon gas tank on my place that I bought at a farm auction for $90.00. It came with a steel 6' stand for gravity flow, complete with hose & filter. I got another similiar one for just $25.00. You don't need a pump, just let gravity do the work. Check out farm auctions, they are frequently on the sale bills. Sometimes they've been used to store diesel, but that doesn't hurt to put gas in it as long as it's empty and clean. Don't forget to put a new filter on it.



-- J Werner (, November 07, 1999.

I keep gasoline in 55 gal drum in a dettached garage, outbuilding. I keep a plastic mist bottle of water by the drum. When I fill or empty the drum I give the concrete floor in front of the drum and the lower part of the drum a shot or two of water and then stand in it. Since the air in some climates can be dry this helps to stop any static discharge at the drum. I also have a grounded hand pump with clips to drum and METAL 5 gal gas can. I always use a non-sparking drum wrench. Man! I guess I am paranoid about blowing myself up, but I am still here.

-- Preston Lawrence (, November 23, 1999.

What are the precautions when storing in plastic gas cans? Have 5 gal kerosene cans and 2 1/2 gal gas cans stored in "regulation" plastic storage containers in unfinished garage. They are near the front door, 'miles' away from the gas water heater. We also have an electric dryer, but it is as far away as the water heater. Am I safe, or should I re-arrange my storage??? Thanx for your expertise, MM

-- Midnightmom (, November 24, 1999.

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