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What We Covered
Gas or Diesel can go bad in mere months. Here’s the method we used to store gasoline in a hot and humid climate for 6+ years–and it still ran perfectly in the car.
Just to be clear, relying on fuel isn’t ideal, but there are times when a fuel-powered device can make life a lot easier. And why not just have a supply of fuel on hand so you can use it? This episode explains how to make sure that fuel doesn’t go bad.
00:00 – Intro
01:58 – Storage conditions: cool & dry
02:52 – Containers
04:38 – Off the ground
05:11 – But from a busy gas station
05:33 – Fuel stabilizers
09:45 – Fuel that has already gone bad
10:29 – How to add the stabilizer
12:46 – Don’t use ethanol gas for small engines & preferably not for fuel storage
15:12 – Burn gas out of carbs
17:15 – Fuel, not a basic necessity but makes life more convenient
- PRI-G – The best stabilizer for gasoline
- PRI-D – The best stabilizer for Diesel
- Sustainable Preparedness – details on how to make your homestead systems (water, power, heat, etc) more independent
Hi, I’m Lisa. And I’m Nick Meissner. And we wanna welcome you back to the ReadyLife podcast where we show you how to make your home as independent as possible for things like water, power, heat, and food, the base basic necessities of life.
Today, we’re going to be talking about long term fuel storage.
Now I realized fuel is not exactly the most independent source of energy, but it sure is convenient for some of things that we like to use, like our small engine tools, like chainsaws and, splitters or trying to think off the top of my head.
Yeah. Lots of different things that we can use fuel for. We could do without it. Right? Yeah.
We could do without it with a little bit of elbow grease, maybe, But a lot, you mean? yeah, with a lot of elbow grease, but it sure is convenient to have it. So we’re going to talk about ways that we can store fuel for longer term.
Because that’s the thing about fuel and kind of meshing fuel and independence is if we if we’re wanting to be able to use fuel, then but yet we wanna be independent as independent as possible, then you’re gonna need to be able to store it.
And if you’ve had any experience with fuel storage, you know, that fuel can go bad very quickly. So that’s what this podcast is all about. How do we do that? That’s right. How can we store fuel long term?
So what are the key factors that affect fuel storage? Well, the storage conditions that or the conditions that the fuel is being stored in. So first of all, you want the fuel to be cool in a nice cool place.
Place also that’s dry where there isn’t moisture. And then also you wanna have a stable temperature. You don’t want lots fluctuation in the temperature. Right. That’s right.
So when we’re looking at storing fuel, we wanna try and keep those 3 things in mind as much as possible, stable temperature, no moisture, or as little moisture as possible in the surrounding atmosphere, certainly no direct exposure to moisture.
Yeah. And also as cool as possible, and that would be ideal. not always possible to do that, but we wanna try at least. so thinking about containers what kind of container do we wanna use for fuel storage?
I like larger containers better because The smaller the container is the less thermal mass you might say there is. And so there’s gonna be a lot more fluctuation with the temperature. It’s easier to warm it up or cool it down. Right.
And it’s just doing that every day. So when you’ve got it in a five gallon container, let’s say, There’s gonna be a lot more fluctuation than there is in a 55 gallon drum or especially like a 300 gallon tank or something like that.
So larger is better. It just seems like fuel doesn’t go bad as quickly when it’s in a larger container. That’s been my personal experience at least. So, we’ve used 55 gallon drums a lot.
They’re, I guess, the thing that I like about them is it’s a larger container, but yet it’s still feasible to move the thing around when you’ve got one of these big 300 gallon fuel storage tanks, and I’m just picking 300 gallons.
There’s a variety of sizes out there, but when you’ve got one of these really large fuel tanks, you don’t move that thing around when it full of fuel.
And so that’s the thing about 55 gallon drums is it gives you some kind a good blend of those 2, movability, and yet it’s still larger.
And but even in spite of that, even if it even if you’ve done everything just right, you’ve got it in a larger container, say 55 gallon drums.
You’ve made sure that it’s under shelter, that it’s you know, not exposed to moisture that it’s off the ground.
That’s another thing is is you don’t wanna really set these tanks on the ground. You’d like to keep them off the ground, set them on some blocks or something like that.
And even if you’ve kept it out of sunlight, which would be a really good idea, all of these things, in spite of that fuel only lasts so long when it’s as is. I mean, it could be as short as a month or 2 even.
I think most of the time it’s if it’s in a larger container, it’s probably gonna go a little further than that, but it all depends. I mean, it depends on how long it was sitting in the tank there, the gas station where you filled up.
And so that’s that’s an argument in favor of getting your gas from a station that’s busy. because they’re gonna have fresher A lot of turnover.
A lot of turnover. Right. So but even still, it’s still gonna go bad in a relatively short period of time. And so that’s where we need to treat the fuel with a stabilizer. And stabilizers are just amazing if you use a good one.
And this is now I I must say all that we’re talking about with fuel storage and stabilizing and all of these kinds of things, this is true for, like, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, any of these kinds of fuels, but it’s not true for propane.
Propane doesn’t go bad. So that’s a definitely a a major advantage with propane is it just it doesn’t go bad. Propane also has some disadvantages, but that’s the big advantage for for propane.
So how do we stabilize our gasoline or diesel, whatever it is that we’re storing? What kind of stabilizer do we use Well, I would say forget about the the conventional stabilizers that you find at the big box stores.
The brand name that comes to my mind is stable. There’s others too. I have heard of very poor results from a lot of these. Maybe there’s some good ones that are in the stores there.
I don’t know. I’m just gonna speak from personal experience. about and I’ve mentioned this before. So if you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ve probably heard me mention this before.
No. I do not own stock in power research incorporated or anything like that. I’ve just used the product and it’s really good stuff. And so this is what I can tell you works. It’s, made by Power Research Incorporated.
They built their products for preserving or at least the way they started out was with preserving massive amounts of fuel for these huge tanker ships that come into port And they’ve got just enormous.
I don’t even know how big the tanks are, but they gotta preserve the fuel, and it could sit there for a while.
And so they built stabilizers for that kind of scenario probably started out with the PRID and then also added PRIG. And so PRIG is for gasoline. PRID is for diesel.
And when I say that we’ve personally used the stuff, it’s been for, let’s see, 20 30, 30 years that we’ve been using PRI, well, 25 years. Let’s say 25 years, something like that. Anyway, we’ve been using it for a while.
And When we first started using it, we put it to the test where we were storing several 55 gallon drums in a hot and humid climate, which is not good conditions. It was in a storage unit that got hot as blazes during the summer.
And it was in the south where So that to say was that down in Georgia? It was. It sounds like describing Georgia to me. down south. And we stabilized it once. We we treated it the fuel with PRIG.
Once. And you’re supposed to retreat it every 18 months, I believe, but we only treated it once. And sick or 7 years later, we got to thinking, maybe we should use this stuff. And so started burning it in a car, and it ran just fine.
You you literally just took that old gas that had been sitting there for 6 or 7 years and dumped it into your car. Well, you had a lot of faith. So, anyhow, I can tell you that the stuff plum works.
And we were really impressed with it. And so ever since then, we’ve been using it. And every time I fill up my truck with diesel, I use PRID in it just in case it’s gonna be sitting for a while, and it’s got some other advantages too.
So it’s really good stuff. I I don’t wanna turn this into a commercial for PRI, but I’m just saying this is this is the stuff that we use for fuel storage.
If don’t neglect the other stuff that we’re mentioning because PRI is not a silver bullet, but it’s gonna be a huge tool in your arsenal for fuel storage.
So what if what if I have some gas that’s been sitting around for a little while? And it’s probably gone bad. Can the PRI stuff? I don’t know. Can it help with anything like that?
That is one area that I don’t have personal experience with the company claims that you can, in fact, they say that they’ve gone out to junkyards and gotten fuel that was, like, 10 fifteen years old and treated it with PRI, and they claim that it brought it back to within specs where you could actually use it Wow.
Which is pretty impressive, but I I can’t vouch for that myself because I haven’t tried that and don’t have any desire to I like I say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, but the way that you use this stuff is it’s really concentrated.
One ounce of it treat 16 gallons. So whatever you’re using, whether it’s PRI or whether you’ve got something else that you like better, you wanna add to the container before you fill it up, add it to the bottom, and then fill it up.
And that makes sure that it mixes really, really well throughout the whole tank.
If for whatever reason you already have a tank of fuel that you’re wanting to treat, maybe you didn’t know about fuel stabilizers or you forgot to use it or whatever, it is possible to treat it after the fact, add the appropriate amount And then you’re gonna need to do something to stir it up to stir up the tank.
Drive over a bumpy road? Yeah. Well, but I’m talking like a 55 gallon drum of fuel or something like that. Not necessarily a tank in your car.
And so for that, you know, there’s there’s a bunch of different ways that you could do this, but one option is to take a hose, run it down to the bottom of the tank, and then blow into it or shoot compressed air into that hose or something to create a bunch of bubbles.
And the bubbles can, you know, as they go from the bottom of the tank up to the top, that can help to stir it up and, yeah, mix it up and that sort of thing.
So the point is, though, to distribute it, mix it really well, And I still like the back of the truck thing. Just put the drum of fuel in the back of the truck and strap it in real good and then go on a That’ll do it.
The backcountry road. you’re good. I don’t mix it up. Yep. That’s right. That’s right. But your like I mentioned earlier, you’re supposed to retreat every 18 months.
With the PRI. At least that’s what they told us back in the day. I was looking for that on their website recently, and I didn’t find it, but I still think it’s a good idea.
To retreated every 18 months. If you’re using something else, use whatever their instructions are for retreating, but that’s basically it.
And then that’s where the other factors, the environmental factors really come in about trying to keep it as cool as you can, as dry as you can, and as stable as you can temperature wise.
And and that’s pretty much it. But there are a few tips that we wanted to bring up. about fuel storage. Right? Yeah. So the first one is don’t use gas that has ethanol in it.
Right? Yeah. We use non ethanol for any of our small engines. If I was storing a lot of fuel that was gonna run-in the car, then I’d just have to weigh the cost difference. I wouldn’t be as concerned about it in the car.
I don’t feel like it’s as big of a deal, but any of our small engines, generator, chains, chipper, what other stuff do we, you know, any of that kind of stuff, we run only non ethanol for a variety of reasons.
And I’m not gonna get into all of them, but for one thing, at least what as far as it affects fuel storage, ethanol absorbs far more moisture than gasoline does.
And so if you’re having fuel that’s sitting around for years, Over time, that ethanol is going to potentially introduce more and more moisture into your fuel, which is not going to be helpful from a fuel storage standpoint.
And just another quickie just from a two stroke standpoint, with with gasoline that’s you’re gonna be adding 2 stroke mix too for your chainsaw or things like that.
I’ve recently read on Husqvarna’s website that they say that ethanol will not bind with the oil mixture, the 2 stroke oil. They say it’ll bind with the 2 stroke oil will bind with the gasoline, but not with the ethanol.
And so if you’ve got 10 or 20 percent ethanol in there, then that’s 10 or 20 percent of it that the oil is not binding to and that’s 10 or 20 percent of it that is not lubricating the engine as it was designed to be lubricated.
So anyhow, just a little bit of of info about non ethanol, why we do that, why we go ahead and pay the extra. We have found A number of gas stations in the area that have non ethanol premium. It’s almost always premium.
That’s the only way that you find non ethanol is is premium. So you are gonna pay a premium for it. Yeah. Unfortunately, but that’s the way it is. You know, small engines don’t usually use a lot of gas. and I think it’s worth it.
So another tidbit that I would mention regarding fuel storage is with any of your small engines that have carburetors, if they’re going to sit for more than a couple of weeks, I would definitely suggest that you either burn the gas out of the carburetor or drain the carburetor so that the gas isn’t sitting in there.
The carburetor on so many engines is so small that it’s just a tiny amount of gas and it can go bad so quickly I’ve had even stabilized gas that, that has not I could tell that something wasn’t quite right.
Wasn’t running the other in the carburetor. And so just do yourself a big favor.
You know, if it’s stabilized, it’s not gonna gum up. most likely at least for a while in the carburetor, but it can still have other issues running rough and things like that just because it’s such a small amount of gas that’s isolated.
And so that’s what I would say is do that and save yourself a lot of headaches. And I’ve had Almost no fuel issues with generators or any of these kinds of things because I’ve pretty rigidly adhered to those rules.
Yeah. And it saved us a lot of grief. And when I haven’t, the few times that I haven’t, I’ve run into, challenges sometimes. Now having said that, Any, any tank that I have stabilized with PRIG or D, if is other than a carburetor.
That’s such a tiny amount of fuel. I feel like it doesn’t count. But if it was at least a five gallon container, I’ve never had one go bad on me so far. So that’s just a a tidbit there.
And, yes, you can use stabilizer with with 2, 2 cycle mix. That’s not a problem. Stabilize your fuel. And then when you add 2 stroke mix to it, you know, it’s it’s just It mixes just fine. Yeah. And it’s just fine. Just fine.
So Anyhow, that’s that’s a little bit about, stabilizing fuel, storing fuel for for long term, you know, like Lisa mentioned at the beginning, fuel is not the ideal from a independent standpoint, and so I would strongly suggest that anything that you’re using fuel for, you have a independent backup for that where you could do it another way, but why go through all of that.
I mean, chainsaws, the amount of work that it would take to replace a chainsaw is pretty incredible.
Yes. We have a crosscut saw. Do I wanna use the thing? No. So A little bit of elbow grease in there. That’s great. And a 55 gallon drum of gas can go a long ways with a small engine.
Yes. Sure can. I hope that was helpful, though, on fuel storage. And if you have any questions, send them in to questions@thereadylife. com. And also, please, it’s super helpful if you can share the podcast.
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