Electricity. Cooking. Transportation. You are bound to lose all those perks when SHTF and you do not possess that which is necessary to make those perks exist. FUEL. Just like a human without food, your bug out vehicle will not run without gas, nor will your hand tractor move without fuel. The point is, storing fuel is a must if you want a normal life when things go sour. Fuel should be part of your prepper supplies checklist. Read on to find out the best way to store fuel.
What Fuel Should You Store?
If you want to find the best way to store fuel, you should know what fuel you should store. First and foremost, consider your needs. Do you have a rocket stove? Are you going to use fuel to run a generator? Or maybe you just need a jerry can of gas to help you bug out? All these types of fuels have their own uses and require different methods of storage.
The following are possible scenarios where you will need fuel:
- Using a chainsaw to cut wood to be used as construction material
- Cooking using rocket stove or any other types of stove
- Running a generator
- Using a hand tractor for tilling a large plot of land
- Fuel for your bug out bag
- Heating up your home
There will be no White Walkers to undo you if the winter comes, but the winter cold can leave you and your family freezing. This is where the trusty firewood comes in. Not only are thy useable in heating up your place, but they can also be used to cook using a makeshift stove. You can even dice firewood if you have a rocket stove so you will be benefited with efficiency in both space and saving fuel.
Take note, however, that there are several factors to consider when storing firewood. Before you decide the best way to store fuel firewood, consider what type of firewood you will be using. The following are common types of firewood you can choose from:
Oak is a very common tree you can find almost everywhere. Thanks to its density, Oak will burn for quite a long time without occupying much space. Unfortunately, this density serves as the main disadvantage of Oak as well because the density makes starting a fire with oak difficult.
Maple share major similarities with oak, such as kindling difficulty and longevity of fire without much need for maintenance.
A cherry log can produce a sweet aroma when burned. Sadly, it will not burn as brightly and as hotly as other types of firewood.
Birch is a softwood that is easy to kindle and produce extremely hot and bright flame, but will die out fast. Hence, it is only ideal for cooking or for igniting a hardwood such as oak or maple.
Elm is dense and hard to ignite hardwood that burns hot. It is very common and you may not even have to cut elm trees down to have access to elm firewood because of the Dutch Elm Disease which is present in Asia, Europe and America.
There are tons of other firewood not mentioned. Pick the types of firewood that suit you the most. Make sure that you pick at least one type of hardwood and one type of softwood. Hardwood will be the “main dish” and the softwood will be the “appetizer”. This means that you will use softwood (which are generally easier to start) for starting the fire and hardwood (which are hard to kindle but lasts longer) for lasting fire. You should also avoid using sappy firewood like Pine because it will contribute to creosote buid-up.
The Best Way to Store Fuel Firewood
- Never burn woods that are treated with chemicals like pesticide. They will not just lessen the longevity of fire, but they will also be harmful to your health.
- Season the firewood properly. Unseasoned firewood will contain at least 60% moisture, making them difficult to burn. Once seasoned properly, moisture will drop to at least 20%. Keep in mind that the process of seasoning can take up to a year.
- Placing the storage site in a place reachable by sunlight makes the moisture content drop lower.
- Split the firewood to save space and to dry the wood faster (the bark help keep the moisture in the wood).
- Choose the proper site. It must be outdoor and exposed to sunlight. NEVER stack the firewood right beside your home because it will make your home and the firewood a paradise for wood-boring insects. In addition, it should be in a place that you won’t have to use for a long time so that you won’t have to move the stack
- Sometimes, local fire codes have suggested stacking heights and stack distances.
Now that you know the best way to store firewood, let us now move on to another type of fuel.
The Best Way to Store Gasoline
Gasoline will come in handy when SHTF. This is the reason why it is one of the first to disappear when a disaster strikes or something bad happens. If you do not store gasoline for emergency use, chances are you will find yourself caught in a long queue of vehicles lined up waiting for their chance to buy a few liters of gasoline that suddenly exploded into a ridiculous price.
Do yourself a favor and find out now the best way to store a gasoline. While it is very convenient and tempting to just leave a can of gasoline lying in easy-to-reach places, it is very unwise. Gasoline is hygroscopic, thanks to its high ethanol concentration, which means that it will absorb moisture and become watery, enabling it to clog fuel lines and stick to the pump and injectors. Furthermore, gasoline will lose octane over time causing it to be utterly useless after a span of six months.
The cheapest and arguably the best way to store gasoline is to rotate your stash. For instance, if you only store a full tank worth of gasoline, then you can use that stashed gasoline to fill the hungry gas tank of your car and go to the gasoline station to fill the container of your choice. If you store several cans and containers of gasoline, remember the acronym “FIFO” which stands for “First in First Out”. That is, you should consume the gasoline you stashed first before consuming the latest ones. Hence, it will be helpful if you label your jerry cans or whatever container with the date you stored them.
Using Fuel Stabilizers
If you won’t be using your bug out vehicle but you want to stock some gas in its tank, you should use fuel stabilizers. Fuel stabilizers are helpful in slowing down the rate of decay of gasoline by interfering with its reaction with moisture and slowing down the loss of octane. With the help of a fuel stabilizer, the shelf life of gasoline is improved so that it can last for a year. Keep the following tips in mind when using fuel stabilizers:
- Fuel stabilizers can not restore old gas.
- You can also use fuel stabilizers to rid the tank of moisture before storing gas. This can be achieved by pouring stabilizer into the tank and let the engine run for at least two minutes.
- After a span of one year, pour additional stabilizers to the stored gas, otherwise the gas will begin to degrade fast.
Personally, I recommend rotating the supply of gas instead of using stabilizers every year, but it never hurts to have a stash of fuel stabilizer ready. When SHTF, the availability of fuel will drastically drop. Hence, you need to preserve what little fuel you have, just like how you have to learn food preservation techniques to let food last for a long time.
- Remember that gasoline is highly flammable, so it is common sense to keep it away from extreme heat.
- If gas leaks, the vapor will reach the lower floors of your house because the gas vapor is denser than air.
- Ensure that the container is properly sealed.
- Try to store your stash of gas in a place not attached to your home so that fire will not spread in case it breaks out.
The Best Way to Store Diesel
You may have heard that diesel fuel can be stored for a very long time without deteriorating. Unfortunately, this longevity no longer applies to the diesel we know today. The only diesel fuel available in Europe and North America today is Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel. ULSD has a shorter life span compared to diesel fuel with high sulfur, so you will have to learn ways to store diesel fuel for a long time. Here are some methods you can use:
You can rotate diesel just like how you can rotate gasoline. Again, I personally recommend this method because it is the safest and the most surefire way of storing diesel.
Additives are the “alternative medicine” of petrol science. Some fuel additives offer solutions to a problem that does not even exist or are already addressed by fuel companies. Most fuels already have additives, so adding more of the same type can cause overtreatment which will do more harm than good. If you plan on using fuel additives, you should only use an additive produced by a reputable company who have conducted peer reviewed studies on the product.
The following are types of additives you can use to help extend the shelf life of diesel fuel:
- Metal Deactivators – diesel fuel will decompose by reacting with copper, zinc, lithium and other reactive metals. Metal deactivators stop this reaction so the shelf life of diesel fuel is extended.
- Biocides – biocides can stop the growth of fungus and other microorganisms, thus avoiding the decomposition of diesel fuel. Higher doses of biocides are required in case the fuel is already infested by microorganisms. Unfortunately, doing so can build up volumes of dead matter thus clogging the filters and causing oxidation. As you have probably deduced, oxidation can accelerate the decay of the fuel. Hence, it is a must to drain the gas before applying biocides.
- Antioxidants – these additives are useful for slowing down oxidation, hence improving the longevity of fuel.
- Keep diesel out of sunlight. Aside from the risk of spontaneous combustion, it also increases the rate of decay.
- Keep the diesel away from dust. Dust particles may contain reactive metals which can contribute to the decomposition of diesel fuel.
Can you see the pattern? The best way to store fuel types usually include a third party product that will increase longevity, but there are always alternative ways to help you save cost.
Kerosene is a very versatile fuel type you can use in kerosene stoves, portable heaters, kerosene lamps and even breathing fire and fire dancing if you are bored. Moreover, you can use kerosene as a substitute to diesel fuel because they are refined from the same material, though it will be less efficient because kerosene will need a higher temperature to vaporize. As an added bonus, storing kerosene long-term is relatively straightforward. Keep in mind that you should store kerosene in a clean container, otherwise it can be infected with organic matter such as fungi. The container should by sealed properly, otherwise impurities like dust can contaminate the kerosene with reactive metal that will cause oxidation.
There is no such thing as the best way to store fuel. There is not even the best type of fuel! My suggestion? Store them all! The guide above will help you determine the right way to store each individual fuel type so you can take care of the rest.