Week 21 of 52: Emergency Fuel Supply

When a disaster threatens a given area, fuel is one of the first emergency prep items people begin stocking up on. Fuel helps power you through an emergency by providing means to keep warm, cook, and supply emergency power for generators, appliances and electrical tools. When choosing which types of emergency fuel to store, consider the following issues:

  • Any dangers the fuel may pose by being stored.
  • How much fuel needs to be stored for the given emergency.
  • What appliances or tools the fuel needs to provide power for.
  • How long the fuel will stay viable for.
  • How it needs to be stored for safety reasons.

Because storing fuel for short or long-term use presents its own set of unique challenges, ensure that you safely store your fuel supply by following these safety regulations.

When storing certain fuels, you will need to use a stabilizer to prevent the fuel from separating. Some of the most popular fuel stabilizers are Sta-bil and Pri-G or Pri-D. Both are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online or at most super centers. Most preppers like to have enough fuel on hand for at least a 72-hour period. To be on the safe side, plan on storing enough fuel to last under your predicted worst case scenario. Put some thought into which type of fuel you can store for this minimum period of time.

If fuels are to be stored for emergencies, then it will need to be stored in containers that prevent evaporation and prevent the signs of fuel phase separation. If the storage container is made of plastic, ensure that the container is made of durable HDPE with barrier materials to eliminate hydrocarbon emissions, has an airtight seal to reduce spills when not in use and has a pour spout that controls variable flow, has automatic venting and automatic locking when lever is released. Plastic is permeable and the fuel can seep through, however; some preppers have found that metal fuel cans are best. Some preppers suggest using auto grade silicone to coat their metal cans in order to preserve them longer.

The six most popular fuel sources to store are listed below. To learn more about these popular fuel types, how long they last and how to appropriately store them, click here.

  • Firewood
  • Gasoline
  • Diesel fuel
  • Kerosene
  • Propane
  • Solar power

You are probably wondering how much fuel you should store for a disaster. The answer is largely dependent on what you plan to use the fuel on during an emergency and how long the disaster will last. If you wanted to only run a generator with gasoline to power your home and appliances during the day, plan on using 1-2 gallons of fuel per hour. In a 72-hour emergency where you are reliant on yourself to provide power, plan on needing at a minimum 48-gallons of fuel.

Those who live in apartments or duplexes will probably not be allowed to store any types of fuel in or around the buildings due to the close proximity of living. Fuel dealers in your local area can tell you about the EPA and regulatory issues associated with storing fuel in a tank on your property. Contact them for this information as well as a host of other useful information about fuel storage.

Preps To Buy:

  • Multiple amounts of plastic or metal fuel storage containers
  • Seasoned fire wood (ample supply)
  • Fuel of choice to run generators, appliances, provide electricity for 1-3 month duration (if legally allowed to do so)
  • Fuel for cooking (ample supply)
  • Alternative cooking source (a solar oven, Korean cook stove, Volcano Stove, reflector oven, Dutch Oven, Rocket Stove, propane grill or stove)
  • Propane (one weeks worth)
  • Long burning jarred candles (unlimited amount)
  • Extra wicks for candles (can be purchased at Amazon or Ebay)
  • Matches

Action Items:

1. Read about the different types of fuel and decide which fuel choice(s) is best for your family.

2. Find an appropriate area outside of the home where the fuel can be stored.

3. Ensure that you rotate your fuel regularly and check to make sure there are no signs on leaking.

Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 23rd, 2011
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  • Dan

    If you have the money, I would recommend getting a Honda or Yamaha 2000 watt inverter generator. These generators are top notch and are able to power sensitive electronic equipment such as TV’s & computers without damaging them. They are considerably quieter than cheaper commercial generators. Loud generators let the rest of the neighborhood know what you have. Example: After “Storm Sandy” many home owners had their generators stolen from thief’s. And these inverter generators run 8 to 12 hrs on a gallon of gas. This allows you to store less fuel. In emergencies, I only run the basic to make life easier for my family. Since these generators are limited in power you will have to rotate items. I can run my freezer, frig., and lights when power is out in the summer. I can run my furnace ( with a transfer switch ), frig and lights in the winter with my generator. I can run two 6k window A/C units and a few other small appliances with my generator. These generators are also light weight and easy to transport by myself. and great for camping. Hope this helps.

  • Jamey

    Dan, this is the info I have been looking for on a generator.  Thanks

  • AC

    Consider charcoal as an alternative, or supplement, to wood. It’s won’t rot, and it won’t get eaten by something.

  • Jeffrey

    Check your homeowner’s policy regarding fuel storage limitations which may be more restrictive than the legal ones.
     

  • Ed Roch

    If you have a generator AND natural gas, consider getting a 3 way converter/regulator to run your generator off gasolene, natural gas or propane.
    http://www.propane-generators.com/learn_more.htm
    I found this after seeing all those people standing in line for gas after TS Sandy.

    Solar panel, not cheap but portable and worth it.
    http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/7-portable-solar-laptop-chargers-worth-considering/page2.html

    Look on You tube for solar cookers. The one made from a plastic sheet and water (parabola) is very interesting and simple

    I love You tube. You can fine all kinds of interesting things here.
    Pitty the internet will be in accessable WTSHTF or ITEOTWAWKI.

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