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Preparedness/Survival Skills/BOBs/Kits/Gear If it will help keep you going when TSHTF, talk about it here.

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Old 10-15-2009, 11:20 PM
Oblio13 Oblio13 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 334
Default How to store diesel fuel:

I will share the results of my internet research with you, because I love you all:

There are two common problems with storing diesel fuel:

1. It begins to oxidize as soon as it leaves the refinery. Gums and sediments that clog fuel filters form. The process can be slowed by keeping it cool and by adding stabilizers.

2. Water, usually from condensation in the empty part of the storage container, is the medium for algae growth. A slime that will again clog fuel filters results. Adding biocide will prevent algae growth, but better yet is to keep it in a sealed, full container and at a stable temperature to prevent water from condensing in the first place.

Those who store large amounts of diesel for long periods (deep water sailors, the military, nuclear power plants with back-up generators) periodically test and "polish" their fuel, filtering and adding additional stabilizers. For us little people, rotating stocks is more practical, but funnels with built-in filters are available.

Exxon's website says that: "If you keep it clean, cool and dry, diesel fuel can be stored 6 months to 1 year without significant quality degradation. Storage for longer periods can be accomplished through use of periodic filtrations and addition of fuel stabilizers and biocides."

Chevron says: "those who store diesel fuel for a prolonged period, i.e., one year or longer, can take steps
to maintain fuel integrity. The steps below provide increasing levels of protection:
1. Purchase clean, dry fuel from a reputable supplier and keep the stored fuel cool and
dry. The presence of free water encourages the corrosion of metal storage tanks and
provides the medium for microbiological growth.
2. Add an appropriate stabilizer that contains an antioxidant, biocide, and
corrosion inhibitor.
3. Use a fuel quality management service to regularly test the fuel, and, as necessary,
polish it – by filtration through portable filters – and add fresh stabilizer."

BP says: "Under normal storage conditions diesel fuel can be expected to stay in a useable condition

• 12 months or longer at an ambient of 20C.
• 6-12 months at an ambient temperature higher than 30C.

As diesel gets older a fine sediment and gum forms in the diesel brought about by the
reaction of diesel components with oxygen from the air. The fine sediment and gum will
block fuel filters, leading to fuel starvation and the engine stopping. Frequent filter changes
are then required to keep the engine going. The gums and sediments do not burn in the
engine very well and can lead to carbon and soot deposits on injectors and other combustion

Cenex says: "If storage exceeds one year, testing is recommended."

Diesel fuels are blended for different seasons and regions. "Summer" diesel may cloud or gel at cold temperatures.

From BP: "Always purchase fuel to replenish stocks in the winter season. This will
ensure that the fuel will not cause wax problems whatever season it is used."

According to Exxon: "Non-winterized diesel fuel will not generally cause problems as long as temperatures are at or above 10F."

So the basic strategy boils down to:

Buying "fresh" fuel (the quotation marks are because it's probably already several weeks old by the time it works it's way from the refinery to us consumers).

Topping off storage containers, leaving just enough headspace for expansion and contraction, but not much for condensation.

Keeping it clean, dry and cool. Heat speeds deterioration, temperature swings will cause condensation.

Adding a stabilizer to slow oxidation if storage in warm temperatures or beyond a year is anticipated.

Adding a biocide to prevent algae growth (or better yet, keep it in a sealed, full container and in a stable temperature to prevent water condensation in the first place).

Rotating stocks every winter.

When in doubt, filtering. The "Mr. Funnel" plastic fuel filter funnel from has a good reputation. (The same funnel is marketed under several different names but for a lot more money.)

Last edited by Oblio13; 10-15-2009 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:23 PM
Oblio13 Oblio13 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 334

Both of my vehicles are diesels. I try to keep a small supply of fuel on hand, and think old-fashioned "Jerry cans" are the best storage containers. They're rugged, stackable, easy to pour from, and they don't "breath" like plastic containers. A dozen Jerry cans equals 3,000 miles in my car or 1,020 in my truck. Of course, our nanny state has made them illegal because they don't have child-proof caps or CARB ("California Air Resources Board") compliant spouts. "Pre-ban" Jerry cans are still sometimes available at surplus stores with the warning that they are not to be used to store fuel. What can I say.

Interesting related historical trivia, just to enrich your lives: "Jerry cans" are so-named because they were originally designed and stockpiled for the German Wehrmacht during the build-up to WWII. Transporting and storing fuel in combat conditions was a critical problem as armies became mechanized, and Jerry cans were a secret project ordered by Hitler. They can be stacked with little wasted space. Their three handles allow easy carrying by either one or two people. The small built-in air space allows for expansion while minimizing condensation, and ensures that they'll float even when full. A traveling American engineer recognized the value of the ingenious design and stole three of them during an adventure that reads like a spy novel. They were subsequently delivered to America and Britain and reverse-engineered. I've also seen French, Swiss and even Israeli copies.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:15 AM
DM DM is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,236

I bought my first diesel vehicle in 1982, and have been keeping diesel fuel around for them since then...

I now have numerous diesels of one kind or another around and keep about 200 gallons of fuel around for them at any given time, (i use to keep 3 to 600 gallons around) stored in steel tanks and 55 gallon drums. I've had diesel stored for several years, without any problems at all. I rarely put an additive in my fuel.

I've bought a LOT of old diesel for 50 cents a gallon from folks that switched to gas furnaces years before, and just never got around to getting rid of their diesel. I've never had any problems with that diesel either.

Water is what causes algae, keep it out of the fuel and you won't have it clogging the filters, i've never had algae form in my fuel yet.

Every summer my neighbor has his 500 gallon tank filled with diesel and doesn't use it up until late the next summer, when he has it filled again. He doesn't use additives either.

Limit all politicians to two terms: One in office, one in prison. Illinois already does this!

Illegal immigration is ruining America, look what it has done to the White House.
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:23 AM
LJH LJH is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Kane County, UT
Posts: 239

Most of the ranchers around here have 500 or 1000 gal. diesel tanks up on racks near the barns or equipment sheds. They sit out in all weather, below freezing to 100 or more. They must either use additives or filters or both -never thought to ask but I will now.
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:01 PM
RobJob Male RobJob is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 140
Default Great Info

I never considered the fact that plastic cans "breath" although I know pvc water line is susceptable to permeation of volitiles. I will be on the lookout for jerry cans now. Thanks.
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