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steel containers for storing gasoline

32035 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  jsriley5
Hello Team,

I am new to this forum I was referred by

Seems this site has alot of info yet is still is very new.

Thought i would share a resource with the site.

Due to gasoline prices down around 2.40 a gallon i fiqure it is time to stock up on some more.

Currently i have four 5 gallon surplus NATO cans that i use for gas storage for my small generator and lawn equipment. These things are over 50 years old and still seal very tightly.

I was looking to increase my total capcity and although the 5 gallon cans are handy i wanted a container that i did not have to constantly lift every time i needed fuel not to mention lugging these back and forth to the gas station.

So i purchased the following 30 gallon steal drum.

and the pump

total price was about $125 shipping included.

I read on other sites about purchasing used barrels from oil suppliers and what not but didn't want to hassle searching around from shop to shop.

The company has 55 gallon drums as well however the weight full of gasoline is tremendous and i think the 30 gallon will suit my needs just as well.

I use a hand truck to move the barrel around and use a fuel hose i purchase from the local marine store to pump the gas out.

I filled the barrel with roughly 26 gallons of gas to allow room for expansion and treated with an stabil

The website is if anyone is interested.
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I am also new to this forum and have been reading each post. Yours is one that concerns me so I am replying to it. Storing gasoline in any amount is risky business at best, not to mention all the local fire control, insurance, and environmental regulations that I'm sure are out there, and could be different for each area.
I did a web search about it and found this very good homestead site (For safety sake, homestead fuel storage must be handled properly by Emory Warner Issue #43). The author goes on about the benefits of kerosene instead, but you may find it interesting.
I have worked in an industrial area where many volatile, explosive solvents were used in the chemistry and accidental ignition from static sparks, etc. are very commonplace without the correct safety measures in place.
Ok, enough said on the safety issue. Thanks for the post. I'm sure many folks are wanting to store gas while it is trending to lower prices at this time.
Did the local fuel station have any issues with you filling up a barrel?

I've been looking for drums local and have found nothing. Thanks for that link.
Use a fuel stabilizer, rotate fuel stocks every 12 months

The additive package in better gasolines includes oxidation inhibitors which allow them to be stored for short periods up to 3 months without forming excessive deposits, while discounted "spot-market" fuels have no ad-mixtures at all.

The culprits in gasoline storage are its hygroscopic nature (it absorbs moisture from the environment), which can cause rusting of tanks and engine parts. Long periods of storage can also dry out engine cylinders, often resulting in permanent damage when seasonal equipment is taken out of storage and "dry started." Fuel within stored equipment oxidizes and form varnish and sludge deposits that clog injectors, fuel lines and carburetors, stick floats. This causes poor engine performance, starting problems, increased maintenance expenses and decreased equipment life.

Stored gasoline develops tars, gums, and esters, as the gas degrades through evaporation of butane and other volatiles. Buying "winter formulated" gas with extra butane (sold October through March in the US) is more important than buying high-octane. For starting engines with stored gasoline after the butane dissipates, keep several cans of ether-based starting fluid handy.

To maximize storage life of gasoline, store only in air-tight containers, filled as close to the top as possible to minimize water absorption. Add a chemical stabilizer such as:

Gander Mountain® > Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer - 32 oz.

AMSOIL - Gasoline Stabilizer (AST)

or Pri-G
PRI-G Fuel Treatment @ Survival Unlimited .com

and rotate stocks every 12 months. If your vehicle has fuel injection, it is important to use up stored gasoline within a year and also add a fuel injector cleaner your vehicle as you fill the tank. Pri-G claims that their stabilizer preserves gasoline for use in small motors, such as outboards, chainsaws, portable generators and non-fuel-injected vehicles for up to 2 years.

For more info see:

Tips for Handling Gasoline, Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Anyone contemplating bulk fuel storage must become knowledgeable of safety procedures and recommended practices. This reference is geared to aviation use, but has good info.
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You are absolutely correct that their are safety hazards and regulations against storing and transporting gasoline.

I store my gas away from the house for this reason.

Diesel and Kero are way better choices than gasoline however unfortunately i do not own a diesel generator and my truck has a gas engine. Maybe in the future i will be able to afford to upgrade but for right now i have to do without.

If you use common sense and store fuel properly you can greatly reduce the risk of disaster.

I had no problem from the gas station, but its not like I went in their and announced to the store that i plan on filling up a 30 gallon barrel with highly flammable gasoline.:D

transporting gasoline in a unapproved "DOT" container is illegal so be very careful:eek:

Although you could just take a bunch of trips with regular old gas cans to fill the barrel if you wanted to be safe.

Every time i take my "DOT approved" 5 gallon NATO gas cans to the station the sheepel next to me always give me weird looks like i am crazy or something.

To sum this up if you are to paranoid about storing gas then just don't do it, its not worth losing sleep thinking about how its going to catch on fire or the Fire Marshall will come banging on your door in the middle of the night searching for fire hazards.

Personally i feel much more comfortable knowing that i have enough fuel to run my engines should the need arise and save a dime at the same time.
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Yup, anything over 50 gallons that ISN'T in the vehicle fuel tank is also illegal... Without HAZARDOUS MATERIALS endorsement on the drives license, and placards on the vehicle.

Not even farm vehicles are exempt.
Where do you store it at? Do you have an external shed?
Just another thought about fuel storage is make sure what you can and can't do in your area. I know for my state (NJ) we can not have over a 5 gallon of gasoline at any time , but that doesn't stop me from having 2 or more empty 5 gal cans waiting to be filled in a hurry if need be.
It may be in your best interest to fill your barrells a little on the sly.... People notice when you buy 30 gallons of gas in a barrell but they rarely notice filling up a 5 gallon can. I use stabil gas treatment and i have 300 gallons stored i rotate like food storage it is a little trouble but I keep my barrells in the same place so i don't move them at all. Actually i have all the ports facing out and I have a sheet of plywood on top makes a great storage shelf area and by kinda stacking stuff in front there concealed from the overly Nosey neighbors you might have.
Not wanting to win a Darwin award

I'm curious if you couldn't store gasoline in a "truck fuel box".. you know, the kind that you see in the beds of pickup trucks? They have them listed for diesel, petrol, gasoline .... I'm just not sure of the safety factor for gas vs diesel.
I'll lead you to the following link. Tell me your thoughts.

Aluminum Fuel Tanks

I'd love to have a toolbox like these that i could add an additional 50-100 gals to when I'm hauling a 5th wheel or something across country. That'd keep me from having to stop soo often with the puny 25gal tank in the truck. I don't feel like winning a Darwin award though for blowing myself up just for some extra mileage.
I store gasoline in a 550 gallon above ground steel tank. I have two 550s and one 300. There are several dealers that deliver gas here. It's no big deal as long as you farm and don't exceed 1100 gallons per tank.

Steel does not react with gasoline to any significant degree. With current formulations that include ethanol there is some rusting that will go on from the water that the ethanol absorbs out of the air.

Gasoline deteriorates from heat so if you can keep it cool it will last. Under 50 degrees it will last for years. 90 degrees it will last for a month. In between is in between. I have not found the various preservative products on the market to help but others experiences may be different.

Be careful and keep your drums away from any buildings you might have. That stuff does burn.
Storing any flammable liquid(s) is extremely dnagerous. I have stored it for years with no problem doesn't prove anything, just that you have been luckky so far.
That is why there are city fire codes against it. It is not illegal for a station to sell it, just illegal to store it.
If you get caught you can face some very expensive fines and possible incarceration. Remeber busybodies can be buying gas at the station while you are.
If your stored fuel catches fire and damages property other than yours you are liable. Check your homeowners policy. If you are exceeding the legal storage limit they may not pay on your claim. Chances are they will not pay for dmages to other property(s).
Fuel storage tanks should be inspected at least once a year by a professional. Expecially the safety valve. An overheated tank can explode as the safety valve may not release pressure fast enough. If a presssure relief valve fails it can also send the tank on unstopable journey across your property and it will take out what ever is in its path. 55 gallon or other barrels are evn more dangerous as they have no safety valve. We all know tha a large quantity of any kind of fuel will make one hell of a huge fire. Suppose this happens while no one is at home or the people inside do not learn about it in time.
I am not against storing fuel in large quantities but if you are going to do this and I understand why, please maske sure to follow all fire and safety codes.
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Storing Gasoline in 55 gal steel drums

I tried storing gasoline in 55 gallon drums. One I filled half way, the others within a couple of inches of the top. I closed the bung hole tightly and the drums weren't vented. They all collapsed to the point that 2 of them developed small holes and began leaking. How could this be? What would cause a liguid to suddenly loose 1/4 of its volume? A couple I filled on warm days. One on a cold day.
Even though you filled one on a cold day, by being totaly sealed, the container(s) was subjected to a much colder temperatures which created a vacuum thus collapsing the container.
Oil storage tanks in oil well sites that store crude oil have a floating lid. It will seal the tank but not 100%. It keeps the tank from collapsing in cold weather and from exploding in hot weather.
Gasoline regs and Common Sense

I have dealt with fuel storage and transport before and here are a couple things I have learned:
- make sure you have a pressure relief valve on your storage! ever see a plastic gas can swell up in warm weather? Not a good thing - that vapor is a bomb! Also, when cans do swell up, they like to roll over and spill given the least movement (like being in a car trunk). The larger the tank/ storage, the worse the problem will be. In my experience a 1 gallon can isn't bad, but a 2 or 5 gets to have issues; I don't want to think about a 50 gal drum getting pressurized!
- Federally and in most American states, you can transport up to 110 gallons of gasoline as cargo before CDL/ Hazmat/ placarding regs kick in. However, I would do it as little as possible; as others have pointed out, thats a lot of flammable liquid and alot of potential liability!
- Even with stabilizers, I would not want to depend on long term (year +) gasoline if I had another option. For the cost of buying and storing 300 gallons of gasoline, I could build a small solar electric system. If I felt the need for a survival package (which I am thinking about, but not yet decided), I would rather go solar than generator + fuel.
- For long term fuel storage, if it could be an option I would suggest considering propane/ natural gas powered fridge, generator, etc - it doesn't degrade like gas (or to a lesser extent diesel and kerosene). I was hiking a few weeks ago and went by a remote cell tower; the equipment block had a series of 100 lb bottles connected together instead of a big liquid fuel tank.

Just my 2 cents...
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If I felt the need for a survival package (which I am thinking about, but not yet decided), I would rather go solar than generator + fuel.
I would agree, that solar is best for elctrical needs.

The primary reason for storage of gasoline is for mobility/transportation. I wouldn't waste it in a car or generator, though - - my gasoline is stored so I can use my motorcycle, which gets over 50 MPG. I have a diesel truck for days when it is raining.

I have a diesel generator for back-up electrical needs (cloudy days). I could recommend a natural gas powered generator, but I don't like gasoline powered generators much at all.
I just picked up an old 250 gallon propane tank for a song. Nice, thick walls - - and designed for high pressures, too! I am going to use it to store gasoline :) I want to add a pressure gauge to it as well. I'll bet keeping gasoline under a safe pressure will help it to not evaporate. Gotta go look up Reid Vapor Pressure charts now.........
So LincTex any update on how that worked for you? I too was thinking a slight positive pressure would help to prevent the gassing off of the good stuff. And googled and got your post. Would love to hear how it worked for you thus far.
The tank was never purged, so no oxygen inside. The pressure on the gauge varies, I don't know what the maximum pressure has ever been. It is in the shade, so I don't know what it would do in full sunlight, but I am not going to try (tank is painted silver). No oxygen gets in, and no vapor leaves. I haven't sampled the fuel, but I have no reason to believe it has degraded much, if at all. I also added Sta-Bil at the recommended rate.

The vapor pressure of propane is about 120 psi on a 100 degree F day ( )

I filled the tank through the "liquid" valve (dip tube). I vented a little vapor as I was filling the tank, but kept 10-20 psi positive pressure at all times using a 12 volt fuel pump from an EFI car to fill the tank and I kept about 30 psi on the pressure gauge when I reached capacity. This not only keeps pressure on the fuel to eliminate vapor loss, but I can also use the pressure to get fuel out of the tank later.
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Thanks. I have a "spare" 500 gallon propane tank and that I think is a bit much to store and ever actually have to try to rotate out all at one time but a buddy of mine has a 100 or 150 gallon spherical propane tank that I could get cheap am thinking that is just about the right size especialy if I could ever come up with a second one so I can keep one full and use from one then fill the empty one and switch to the other would kinda be a constant rotation and then when if the time ever came where it was time to save what you had and use it sparing they could be kept well treated and pressurized to conserve what I had for a long time. And if my plans to "Bug-in" failed I"d have enough gas to get a good long ways from here. Your experience sounds hopeful think I"ll give my buddy a holler and see if he still wants to part with it and see if he knows where another might be found. Ought to get the big propane one moved and refilled with propane even though we don't use it right now I can convert a generator to run on it and have some LP heaters ready to go. Can't wait to move and get away from an all electric house. Maybe in a year.
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