Long Term Gasoline Storage: Why, How To, and Tips

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By Bryan Lynch •  11 min read

Gasoline is a necessity for any gas-powered engine to run. Vehicles, ATVs, Farming Equipment, and innumerable other engines require this fuel to run, and without it, they’re virtually useless. Most likely, your bug out vehicle needs it as well.

Long-Term Gasoline Storage

Gasoline storage is attempted by several, yet it often ceases to perform correctly due to mismanagement of sustaining the fuel.

Typically gasoline can usually last multiple months in most gasoline containers without much preparation.

However, if you plan on stocking it in the long run, you’ll need to do it appropriately so you don’t have hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of gas ultimately going bad.

Many people are beginning to store gasoline due to many factors, such as the potential human-made or natural disaster, or simply to have easy access to their farm or business.

Nevertheless, it’s a great thing to consider, so we’re here to tell you why it’s a good idea and how to do it the proper way, so you avoid wasting tons of money. Let’s get into it.

Why Should You Store Gasoline?

Ease Of Access

I’ve spent much of my life far out in the timbers, distant away from any gas stations. I know from experience that living out in the boondocks diminishes the chances of filling up quickly.

This practically means that you have to fill up your gas tank in town and be very conservative once you’re out of the city.

I used to live in a colossal ranch that consisted of thousands of acres of land, and it indeed required a lot of gas to maintain.

Gas storage is something that I didn’t have at the time, and it certainly would have helped tremendously.

At times, there would be 6-8 engines working hard, and it certainly needed more gasoline than any 5-gallon Jerry could assist with. This is why I know that if you have land far out of town, this is something to consider.

The Potential SHTF Scenario

This type of catastrophe would most certainly cause a quick emptying of all gas stations around the nation.

If we’re ever finding ourselves in the middle of a conflict on our land, have mass civil unrest, or confront any other disaster, it is going to vanish quickly and will likely be gone for a while.

It’ll certainly cost a little money to get started, but rotating the gasoline in and out, means that you’ll always have fresh gas, and plenty of it if we ever find ourselves in an actual SHTF situation.

The absolute worst thing that could transpire is to have a vehicle set up to bug out yet have zero gasoline available.

Trust me, during a SHTF scenario, if vehicle transportation is still possible, the lines to get into gas stations will be miles long; this is not something I’d want to face if I needed to bug out of town quickly.

Business Purposes

Many preppers are business owners who own towing businesses, welding shops, and other miscellaneous businesses that often require lots of gas for various vehicles.

This could be vital equipment or even fuel for a generator used to power a building if they’re far out of town.

Large tanks aren’t necessary either; smaller tanks are beneficial, even if you live in town.

I know from experience working with a landscaping company in my early years that stopping through gas stations to fill up the equipment with lengthy lines and waiting is hugely time-wasting.

There are so many uses for gas storage that it’s impossible to name them, but I think you know how it can benefit you best.

Types of Gasoline Storage

Jerry Cans

line of battered red gas cans

Most of us have used the classic Jerry can more than a few times. They’re used for various things, such as lawn equipment, all-terrain vehicles, or backup fuel.

They’re the most versatile; and require less maintenance to keep fresh than all of the other options listed here.

Most Jerry cans are made out of a plastic material and generally last a long time before deteriorating.

Pullable Tanks

I’ve used this type of tank a handful of times, thanks to a friend being gracious enough to lend it to me.

Pullable tanks are handy and pretty versatile, considering all things. Frequently, they’re used for momentary projects, such as earthmoving jobs or farming.

The one I had the chance to use was for a hunting club that consisted of nearly 100 food plots, which required many tractors to sustain. The pullable tank was a lifesaver.

These come in sizes of 50-250+ gallons, and they’re typically acutely used. In most cases, the gas is ultimately used up during the project, and if it’s not, it’s used to fill up the tanks of vehicles after the fact.

Vehicle Attachments

Numerous Americans use this type of gasoline storage all over the nation for all sorts of operations.

Landscaping companies, construction businesses, and countless other projects use these attachments daily due to their ease of access and portability.

Typically, the storage container will attach symmetrically to the inner sides of the bed of the truck or trailer.

They come in all types and generous sizes too. You must, however, be vigilant as to how long the gasoline is kept in immediate sunlight.

The storage containers usually have venting, but the extended exposure to heat will cause the fuel to deteriorate much faster, primarily if it is not used often.

Large Stationary Tanks

These are the tanks that are often used by towing companies, placed in hunting clubs, used for local communities, or chosen as the first choice by preppers worldwide.

This type of tank is probably the most popular one here because of the various sizes available. These tanks can be anywhere from 25 gallons to 500 gallons and beyond.

This is also the tank that could lead to the most problems if it’s not taken seriously in terms of maintenance. Luckily, using the methods noted within this article can extend the lifespan by a considerable amount.

Plus, furnish you with fuel for practically any situation or need you find yourself in. They’re also pretty sturdy and will unlikely be stolen because of the sheer weight.

Underground Fuel Tanks

This would be best if you mainly live in an area prone to harsh weather, such as extreme snowstorms, tornadoes, or hurricanes. The thing that we want least to occur is for an explosion due to misplacing the tank.

Underground fuel tanks provide an extra amount of protection for the gasoline, not only from the noted natural disasters but from the common elements in some areas such as snow and extreme heat.

Since the tank is underground, it will not be directly impacted by certain temperatures, which means the lifespan will not be negatively affected.

Heat and too cold temperatures are the first things that kill the lifespan of gasoline, right behind moisture.

If you consider an underground gas tank, I cannot stress enough to ensure that it is appropriately sealed because underground gas tanks are prone to water contamination if not sealed properly.

How To Keep Gas Fresh

Take Advantage Of Fuel Stabilizer

This is the most significant factor in extending the lifespan of gasoline. This fuel commonly lasts between 2-3 months before it starts losing its peak effects.

Fuel stabilizer essentially slows the oxidation process down by a significant amount. To do this, you add the proper amount to the tank for a year’s worth of lifespan.

This can be repeated, but the gasoline will lose much of its potential at the three-year mark.

This 2-3 years lifespan may very well go beyond this if you store ethanol-free gasoline, which also works well with stabilizers.

Store The Gasoline Under A Shady, Cool & Dry Area

The worst thing for gasoline is water; it’s essentially the arch-enemy of gas. This calls for the storage of gas to be completely sealed from any potential humidity to enter through crevices near the top or at entrances.

If your gas tank becomes exposed to water, the gas will become significantly less effective and quickly reach complete oxidation and provide zero firing potential.

You should also make sure the storage container is under a shady overhang or something that can block the sunlight from hitting it.

High temperatures will quickly evaporate the gasoline and expedite the oxidation process if given enough time, which I’ll add is not long.

Use And Replace

This is perhaps the best pick in terms of longevity of gasoline quality. Gasoline can quickly lessen in quality and requires a few strategies to prevent this, or at least the slow amount of time before it begins degrading.

If you plan to store gas or any other fuel for that matter for an extended time, such as for more than six months, it’d probably be a good idea to use the gas for your regularly used gas engines, like a vehicle, lawnmower, or gas-powered tractor.

This way, the gasoline tank will regularly have fresh fuel, which will unquestionably prolong the lifespan by adding in new fuel and revamp any fuel that has lost a bit of its potential.

Open Questions About Long-term Gasoline Storage

Is Gasoline Storage Legal?

The first yet logical thing that came to mind is whether or not gasoline storage is legal, particularly how much is permitted. Luckily it’s legal in all 50 states.

I looked around for quite a while and found that residential storage is usually capped at 25 gallons.

This, however, fluctuates drastically from state to state; even cities have problematic maximum storage sizes.

To determine the local laws of the area, consider calling the police or fire department. They will quickly pull up the local codes to see what the requirements are for your site.

No worries though, you’ll likely be able to store much more than 25 gallons of gas; just check with your local office.

Is Weather A Factor?

Weather is certainly a factor and plays a critical role in the stability of gasoline while in storage.

If you live in a climate that regularly surges above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to provide the tank with ample shade.

You could furthermore contemplate putting it underground with plenty of escape routes for fumes.

If you reside in a location in an area that is often below freezing, you should consider using a stabilizer to prevent the gasoline from thickening and reducing the lifespan of the fuel.

Standard climates commonly require mostly just proper storage protocols and useful stabilizers, so make sure you follow the tips I’ve spoken of previously to assure that it survives a suitable amount of time for you.

How Long Will It Last?

This is a pretty challenging and complex question because the correct answer varies so much, depending on which storage and stabilizing methods you use.

Typically, you can expect ethanol gas to last between 2-3 months easily before it begins to go stale.

Non-ethanol usually lasts up to 6 months, while gas treated with a high-quality stabilizer lasts between 2-3 years.

You should also make sure the storage container is up for the challenge of storing gasoline long-term. Cheap storage containers may leak the material into the fuel over a long period.


I’ve always thought of what would happen to people if a disaster occurred, which ultimately took away opportunities to get gas; the reality is, it doesn’t look pleasant.

There would be people dispersed with no transportation once the gas stations ran out of fuel. That’s a uniquely lousy phenomenon that none of us want to experience.

Disaster isn’t the only reason that fuel storage is so beneficial, though. As mentioned before, farms, hunting clubs, and businesses can benefit from having gas storage nearby.

It’s also beneficial to have around the house, particularly if you often find yourself doing some work around the yard.

Like I’ve said previously, I’ve used a tank in the past, and at that point, I knew I’ve been missing out big time.

It never really occurred to me how valuable it is to have gas on the spot when I needed it. Make sure to check out our most recent articles here to continue growing your skills.

What do you think? Have you used a fuel storage system before? Let us know how and why you did it below so that newcomers can learn of even more personal experiences.

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.