A world without fuel is a doomed world. Only a few will manage to survive without running a generator or any other useful gas-powered equipment. Having a gas cache will prove helpful regardless the survival situation you need to overcome.
You may need gas for your bug out vehicle, or you may need it for your generator when the lights go out. Our reliance on fuel is immense in these modern times. If a calamity would strike tomorrow, you will understand the real value of a gas cache.
The tank of gas you store in your truck or the garage will only go so far. If you depend on fuel to survive, you need to think bigger and a gas cache could be your salvation.
What you should know before planning a gas cache
Before you go shopping for drums and additives, you should learn what gasoline and other fuel oils are made of. Gasoline is made from refining crude oil, but the devil is in the details, meaning that refining crude oil is being done through different methods, the most basic one being boiling the crude oil. During the boiling process, various components of the crude oils are being captured following their boiling point.
You may have seen on TV how heavier oil products are used to create asphalt and tar. Some lighter distillates can produce gear oil and motor oil, and if we move up the scale, we obtain diesel, kerosene and gasoline.
The gasoline and diesel you get at the pump contain additives such as detergents and ethanol. The composition needs to fulfill the imposed government standard of automakers and engine manufacturers. Gasoline, diesel and kerosene include volatile organic compounds that make the gas burn correctly in the engine. If you keep gasoline exposed to air for an extended period of time, the volatile organic compounds will escape and your fuel will turn into a low octane fluid.
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What makes your gas cache a hazard?
There are two main issues you need to consider when making a gas cache. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that the volatile compounds contained in your fuel will evaporate away if the container is not sealed correctly. And the second issue regards the ability of most fuels to pull moisture (water) right out of the air. The ethanol contained in gasoline mixes with water quite well and it’s thirsty for it.
Making your gas cache safe
If you are serious about making a gas cache and storing fuel at home or your bug out location, there are a few simple rules you must follow. Just like with any other storage project, having the right containers is key to your success. Nowadays, you can find plastic containers designed for storing smaller quantities of fuel. To make things even easier there is also a color code. It will help you figure out which container can store which fuel.
We have red for gasoline, yellow for diesel and blue for kerosene. This is pretty simple to remember, but if you want to be really sure you won’t mix your fuels, you can just label your containers using a sharpie. If you plan on storing more significant quantities of fuel, you have various other options. The most affordable ones being the 55 or 30-gallon drums.
You can also buy larger tanks, but those will be visible. Unless you can bury them, you might as well open a gas station when the world runs dry on fuel. The drums can be found at your local supply stores and are a good start to make a small to medium gas cache. You must know that even for the barrels you buy some issues are unavoidable.
First of all, you should make sure the barrels are clean and dry before you fill them with gasoline. Once they are filled with the fuel of your choice, you should leave them sealed tight until you plan to use that fuel. If you use some of the fuel from one of your barrels, the air from the partially filled drum will induce water through condensation.
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You also need to take into account that heat from the sun and temperature fluctuations are valid threats to your gas cache. As a quick example, during the winter season, your drums will have to be opened from time to time, to let the fumes out. The fuel will expand due to rising ambient temperature and it may burst. Some may argue that opening the barrels will let moisture in, but that’s a risk you have to take if you want to keep your gas cache secure.
It is imperative that your gas cache should be situated away from your living area. Keep it away from any source of heat or flame. It should be located at least 100 feet from your bug out location.
Keeping your gas cache in proper shape
It is essential to specify that many fuel manufacturers use polyetheramine based additives. These can break down carbon deposits to protect the engines and avoid build-ups. You may need to buy some fuel additives if you build a gasoline cache for long-term storage. These gasoline and diesel stabilizers will prevent your fuel from turning into a thick varnish. When it comes to buying fuel and oil additives, there are many choices and their “quality” is reflected by their price.
Some people say that this is just a marketing strategy and that fuel additives are overpriced alcohol derivatives. On the other hand, the government is imposing standards for fuel manufactures. When those standards are “improved” you notice that some fuels work well in your car while others do not.
How big should a gas cache be?
This might as well be the million dollar question and it has a different answer for everyone. It really depends on what you need to do with your fuel and how well can you protect your gasoline from becoming stale. You can store fuel for up to a year and you can extend this period by using additives. Fuel sealed in a proper container under suitable conditions can last for longer, but you can’t complete such process at home.
Most experienced off-gridders recommend to cycle through your fuel at least every six months. This will keep it at its maximum quality. Some say that even stale gasoline can be used by blending it with twice the volume of new gasoline, but I would avoid using such fuel for my brand new truck.
The quantity you decide to store is entirely up to you. A lot of people will start with 50 gallons, just to figure out how well they can handle this project. You would think that more is better, but you also have to consider the volatility of your gas cache and how difficult it can be to keep it adequately treated. If you decide to go big, concealment should also be planned as your gas cache will become a beacon for anyone who might see it.
Building a gas cache is not complicated and you should be OK as long as you follow the safety rules. The type of fuel you store, the containers you use, the location of your storage, the time and weather effects, and the quantity of fuel you store, are all issues that need to be addressed when building a gas cache.
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