Tips For Long-Term Storage Of Gasoline

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

If you are like me, you may wonder how to prepare if you were to survive a few years of fuel shortages. The most common fuel for generators and vehicles is gasoline. I currently live in a part of the world where we experience electric power outages every day. Our electricity is off more than it is on. I became concerned with long-term gasoline storage when word came that power was to shut off for an entire week.

Of course, solar power would be an excellent option for situations like this. We haven’t installed them on our property yet, so that leaves me with only my trusty Honda generator. As I looked into storing gasoline for the long-term, I came across the discouraging fact that typically, gasoline can only be stored for three to six months. If you have gasoline with ethanol, your gas will only be able to last for three months in storage. Most gasoline you buy in the states will be E10, which contains 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol.

A quick internet search will reveal gasoline stations near you that still provide ethanol-free gasoline. If you are interested in storing gasoline for longer than six months, you should buy your supply there.

Your storage container is something to consider.

Plastic containers can expand and contract with different temperature changes. There is a problem with plastic container not being able to completely block out light, air and moisture. When these elements get into your gasoline, it will be detrimental to your storage plans.

Steel containers remains more rigid and pressure may build up more in them. If your steel containers are built with thick walls and have rubber gaskets, your gasoline has a better chance of being protected from oxygen and moisture entering the container.

Fuel Stabilizer

The right fuel stabilizer is a must if you want to store your gasoline for more than 3 months. By mixing the right amount of stabilizer with your gasoline, the shelf life will extend up to one year. In the right conditions, some people have said that their gasoline is still good up to one year for E10 gasoline and 3+ years with ethanol-free gasoline.

Storage Placement

Heat and UV light break down gasoline. Find a dark, cool, and ventilated area to store your gasoline. By storing your gasoline in the right place, you tremendously stretch out its shelf life. The most important of the two is keeping UV light from hitting your storage cans or barrels.

Dilute Old Gasoline With New

The general consensus is that if you have stored your gasoline for over a year in the right conditions, added fuel stabilizer and kept it in the right container, try to get new gasoline to mix in with the old before using it.

How Do I Know If Gasoline Has Gone Bad?

Gasoline that has gone bad is very dangerous to your engine. It will quickly gum up the engine and you will be in a worse place than when you started. Smell the gasoline. If it smells sour and really bad, it has gone bad. The color will also have darkened from light yellow to dark brown.

Figure How Much Gasoline You Need

I don’t run my generator all the time because our electricity is sporadic at the moment. I chose a small 2200 KV Honda generator in order to save gasoline. Even so, I’m running through 1 gallon per day. That means around 30 gallons a month. If I wanted to keep a supply for only 6 months I would need more than three 55 gallon drums full of gasoline. The supply could be stretched out for longer if we only ran for necessities such as the water pump and charging up phone batteries and such.


If stored correctly, you could have enough fuel to last a few years. Remember, gasoline is super flammable and the fumes are explosive. Safety should be your number one concern. Never store the gasoline inside your living quarters.

If we really do have a crisis that would dry up all gasoline supplies, eventually your own supply will dry up. It would be wise to have the knowledge to survive without fossil fuel. Large supplies of wood will give you fuel for heating your home and cooking your food. Harnessing wind and solar can give you access to electricity without relying on your gasoline reserves as well. If you are near a river or stream, you can harness the energy by building devices such as the Archimedes Screw.

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