Episode-980- Steven Harris on Long Term Fuel Storage — 89 Comments

  1. Great show Jack and Steve!

    A few things:

    I love 15 gallon barrels as well, but people need to be sure that the use of them will not get them in trouble. The 15 gallon drums do not meet DOT standards for fuel transport, and while the risk of getting a ticket for this is low (unless you are in a commercial vehicle, if you get stopped for an inspection they will gig you big time. And be warned that technically an F350 with a trailer, if used for a business, is subject to DOT inspection and requirements and they are doing checks they can grab you) the problems can arise if you have an accident. I have seen people get some very large tickets for carrying fuel in unauthorized containers after an accident because the fuel leaked. In one case it caught fire, and the insurance company refused to cover the vehicle because they claimed the fuel being transported was done in an illegal fashion. In the other case it was a 55 gallon drum of diesel that spilled. It did not catch fire, but it did spill, and the driver was on the bill for the entire environmental cleanup response. And in normal cases the insurance company covers this if your vehicle tank leaks, but once again because it was in a 55 gallon drum the insurance company refuse to pay and left him with a cleanup response bill for in excess of $10,000.

    I would caution the same for the idea of storing fuel in an apartment. As a former firefighter the idea makes me cringe- not because it would be a hazard of ignition if it is stored sealed, but because of the hazard from the huge fuel load it presents if a fire starts from another source. Once that drum gets hot enough to fail the failure will be ugly. And once again, the insurance company is a huge concern- I can almost promise that if you have 15 gallons of fuel in your closet and there is a fire that not only will your renters insurance not cover any losses, but most likely the insurance companies for the building owner and the other tenets will end up suing you, justified or not, the screaming “this guy had a barrel of gasoline in the closet” and it will hurt you, you will get a ticket for violating the fire code, and even if you win the lawsuit the legal fees may very well bankrupt you. I have seen this play out as well with someone who was storing his fuel for his racing bike in apartment, it was ugly for him- and the fire started in the apartment next door!

    So while I love the 15 gallon drums, we need to keep in mind how using a non-DOT approved container may affect our insurance coverage or liability both on the road an at home. While we know it works, if we want the insurance to pay we need to make sure we don’t do anything that violates their rules. Just something to keep in mind, insurance is a prep as well and we don’t need one prep to negate the other! I use them, but they are in my “fuel shed” stored away from the house so I don’t worry about my homeowners having a fit.

    On the old diesel fuel with crud in it- I have a filter system built with an electric pump and inline 15-5-1 micron filters I use for filtering used motor oil as fuel, and that will clean it. You can build it for under $100. But for a one time use if someone wants to clean it here is what I do- first get a funnel that will fit a coffee filter. Coffee filters are 15-30 micron, so dumping your fuel through them will get the bigger crud out and they are cheap. Next get what are known as filter bags- Google “5 micron filter bag” and you will find them. Simply suspend them over a bucket and dump the fuel through. After the coffee filters a 5 micron is good enough for an older vehicle if you are going to burn it right away (and you should), in a newer diesel with higher pressure injection take it down to 1-2 micron. Filter bags are a great low budget way to clean up bad fuel, and should be on everyones fuel related prep list, because they may enable you to make use of fuel nobody else can use!

    For a shameless plug, I do now have a great supply of real good NATO Jerry cans. Not cheap, but the best on the market!

    Great show guys!

    • I also use waste motor oil (WMO) as fuel in my Dodge 2500, 12 valve Cummins. Steve metioned he had a Dodge 2500 diesel. I would like to hear if he has any experience with this. I settle the used oil, drain the crud and any water/antifreeze off and run the rest though a centrifuge. Then mix it about 75-85% WMO, the rest diesel or kerosene. I prefer kerosene in that it thins it out and burns better. I also like to mix some used hydrolic or trany fluid in, the detergents help keep the injectors clean.

  2. Jack/Steven.

    Could you use clear 3/8 clear poly tubing instead of the fuel line hose?. I ask since 1) I am in Canada and this stuff is expensive here and 2) If it is only moving gasoline from your container to the vehicle (3 feet)? would that not suffice, unless the gasoline would eat away at the clear plastic and residue would get into your gas tank.

    • NO! !! you cannot use clear poly tubing….. there is one thing more expensive than good quality fuel line, and that is fuel line that is cheap and does not work !! Get the real fuel line that you can DEPEND 100% ON in an emergency.


  3. You can move a 50g drum pretty easily on a hard flat surface but you ain’t pouring from it which is a huge advantage on the 15’s. Be careful of gas people, incomparably more toxic and dangerous than diesel.

  4. Tim brings up a really good point. Every gas pump (at least in Ohio) says that dispensing of gas in an unapproved container is illegal, and they’ll turn off the pump and blah blah blah. I’m wondering if you’ll run into issues just trying to get it at the pump.

    It’d be a p.i.t.a, but If you got a few of the approved 5 gallon red containers, filled those at the pump, and used them to transport the fuel home to where you have the 15 gallon barrels, that would be a way to get it home legally.

    I’ve been looking into getting some old jerry cans to rotate fuel, but just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I think I’ll look into the 15 gallon barrels though as it sounds like it’ll be much cheaper.

    • It is a liability thing for most stations Jack, although it is the law in some states, sadly too many idiots do stupid things, get hurt, and toss lawsuits everywhere. Joe Dumbass fills a coke bottle with gas, spills it all over his car, catches himself on fire, and he sues the gas station. That is why the Blitz Manufacturing company went out of business after 50+ years of making great fuel cans in the USA- idiots were dumping gasoline onto open fires, then suing Blitz because they got hurt. Gas station owners and their insurance companies are scared to death of the same outcome.

      Idiots misusing the court system because they won’t accept responsibility for their own stupidity will be the ruin of us all. The lawsuit in this link has caused the whole industry to really tighten up to protect themselves from being sued by idiots.

    • really guys… I’ve filled up hundreds of drums ( same drum hundreds of times) all around the USA when I was traveling and NO ONE ever ever ever had a problem with me filling up a 15 gallon container….like modern survival says, the average min wager at 7-11 does not have a clue.


  5. No joke, I just went to to search for “how to safely store gasoline” and saw todays episode. Jack you read my mind again. Thanks for always being so timely.

    BTW, are you ever gonna make it out to AZ for anything? Come hollar at your southwest fans some time!

  6. Great show as always Jack and Steve. Thanks for all the info. Please do the show for all of us poor unfortunate apartment dwellers. Its tough for apartment peppers, we have to be more creative than usual. Any help would be great! Keep it up. Thanks.

  7. Jack, enjoyed the podcast today. I’ve found a great way to get rid of old gas, works every time and can be fun too. The couple of times I’ve had to get rid of some I put it into a old useless one gallon can then take it to the gas station along with an empty. When I get there I take out both cans fill the empty one and put it in the truck and drive away. Sometimes I will stay close by at the quickie store and see who steals the one with the bad gas. It’s fun to watch someone wander over to the gallon and the smile on their face when they realize it has gas in it. Thieves beware.

    • I think that’s called negligence. Disregarding the possible legal consequences, leaving cans of gas in public for “someone else” to dispose of, and intentionally setting up a situation that could damage someone else’s health or property, strikes me as very immoral and irresponsible.

  8. Jaaaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!

    Yes! Please do a show with a focus on people that live in city apartments! One of the absolutely most frustrating experiences on my end… is finding that most information available on ‘survival’ topics is oriented towards people that live in single family homes with a yard and a garage, etc. I venture to guess that a very high percentage of your listeners are apartment dwellers as I am. Please give this request your consideration.
    Love your program!

  9. I have a question, and apologies if I just missed it or maybe I’m just confused:

    Does using PRI-G or STABIL lessen the need for the container to be airtight?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Steven mentioned tightening the 5-gal cans as best you can but they won’t be as airtight as the drums with a wrench. So I’m thinking 5-gal cans + PRI might be the best combination for ease of rotation, especially if it’s going to be less than a year.

    • all fuel is store as tight as the cap can go on ALL the time. using stabil or pri-g is not an excuse to leave the container open in any fashion. Keep your fuel stored tight.


  10. Just grabbed a 15 gallon (formerly held Dr. Pepper syrup) barrel for $10 at a feed store. Apparently barrel races (some equestrian sport) fill them with water and ride around them.

    I get my 55gal rain barrels from the same source. If you go to the hippie nursery that sells 55 gallon barrels for water catchment, they charge like $50 or more. Think outside the box and this can be done cheaply.

  11. Steve, I’ve been salivating for the generator show, but you more than satisfied me with the fuel storage. As Jack said, the tip about using the motorboat bulb to siphon gas was brilliant and worth the entire episode. Having owned outboards, I feel really dense not having thought of this after buying funnels and nozzle extensions that didn’t work all that well!
    Make damn sure you get back to us with “the rest of the story!”

  12. I think an apartment show is a fantastic idea;) I love Steve Harris shows I always learn multiple new things!

  13. I got most of my 30g and 55g drums for free from the local car wash. If I didn’t take them, they would be cut up and tossed in the dumpster.
    They wash out pretty quick with a pressure washer and hot water. Run a hose inside the house to a utility sink or to the drain on your water heater. If you don’t have or can’t get a pressure washer, just use hot water in your hose. You’ll even get enough free soap to wash a couple vehicles.
    Most of my drums are filled with WVO. The price is right.

  14. Great Job Tim for throwing some real life info into this gas storage solution, I plan on getting a 300 gallon gas pump for my 10 acre property.. You seen them there on all the farms out here but you do have to pay for three hundred or 500 hundred gallons of gas depending on the tank size and the gas company will come out and fill it as often as you need it filled.. But since I have been spending like crazy since I bought my home stead a year ago, just havent had the cash for this tank yet so I think I will fill a 55 gallon plastic container until I have the cash for this venture great show steve and Jack and thanks for your imput Tim always appreciated it..

    • Brent, I don’t know if they are available in your area, but you could think about installing used home heating oil tanks. They are on craigslist all the time for free or cheap. People convert to gas heat and need the tank removed. The are normally about 275g, some bigger, some smaller and some indoor tanks are in great shape. Most of them will even have some fuel left in them.

  15. I also wanted to add here in Michigan they can be a pain if your not pumping gas into a approved container, but where I am living when some towns only make up of a party store and one gas station and one town light you can get away with allot…

  16. We need a link with a list of all shows by certain guests and topics. All Steven Harris shows listed/linked, Paul Weaton’s shows, etc!

    • Tags are your friend, see the steven harris tag in the show notes above, click it. Wheaton has the same, etc. Also the search box is your friend as well.

  17. jack this is a fantastic show. I am known as the bee whisperer, and got his name from the Discovery Channel after doing a couple shows for them on world of wonder. I teach youth programs all over the world for Langstroth and top bar and the new euro hive that I have invented. I wrote several articles on beekeeping for backwoods magazine, survival blog, survival and beyond, and youth4H.

    I teach prepping, survival, and homesteading in Wyoming in a group called IPUG ( I’m prepping urban gorilla) the information on fuel preservation and the use of a generator to live off the grid is spectacular. I work for the army corps of engineer as a fuel specialist building feeling in generator sites for aircraft carriers and air crafts. I would have never thought about using batteries as my emergency generator system. that the use of natural gas would be the most elite thing that I could get specially living in Wyoming.

  18. Steven Harris is my favorite guest on your show. His excitement and show preparedness is outstanding, I’m looking forward to Octobers interview.

  19. I just finished listening and I have a way to use or at least get rid of the old/dirty kero, diesel or hho. If you can’t or don’t want to filter it out as already stated, you can get a hold of a simple wick kero heater like this:
    The worse the fuel condition, the worse the smell or smoke, but it will burn. If it’s not too bad and your old lady lets you get away with it, you can add some heat to your house. If not, use it in the garage, workshop, green house etc. If it’s too bad for that, just use it outside.
    The torpedo heaters are can work too, but they are not as forgiving as wick heaters. Make sure you use a filter bag as old grouch stated. Zip tie the cuff on a cheap pair of jeans for a field expedient filter bag, about 5 micron, depending on the material.

  20. Another great show, Jack and Steve. I always learn something, and I too can’t wait for the generator show.

    As a licensed insurance agent, (and former firefighter) I agree with a lot of what Tim said. He raised some valid points. Some insurance companies are more forgiving than others. If you have a cut rate company, they will find any excuse possible not to pay a claim. As always, use your best judgment for your situation. Most preppers on this forum have a lot of common sense. I have a steel 15 gallon fuel tank that I can transport if needed, and plan to get at least 1 15 gallon drum that will stay put in my tool shed. BTW if any of you see the flow and go gas nozzle / pump at Tractor Supply or Northern Tool, don’t buy it. It’s a POS. Mine started leaking after 1 month. Go with the outboard bulb like Steve said.

    • Agreed. Flo and Go pumps should be considered an environmental/fire hazard; overpriced gizmo failures.

  21. Mike,
    In Santa Clara County, CA, you would be slapped with a fine so fast and expensive for polluting if they found discovered you burning. I can’t even legally put in the wood stove that languishes unused in my garage. Wood stoves here must be EPA certified. The fines for illegal burns
    aren’t worth it.

    • I don’t understand. Kerosine space heaters are not allowed? Do they make it a habit to test the fuel quality in the space heater in your garage? I didn’t say to pour it in a hole and burn it. I said a wick style space heater can burn just about anything. You can get some good use from that bad fuel.

  22. Be careful of being too confident in the natural gas system. See the attached link about how rolling blackouts in Texas due to record low temps destabilized the natural gas supply for New Mexico in Feb 2011. It was VERY cold for NM and cost millions (at least) after sections of the state we shut off from supply to keep the pressure up.

  23. This show is a repost from back in July, isn’t it?
    I clicked on the tag for his name and don’t see that show anymore, but I do see “dealing with a large scale blackout – part 1″… which makes it confusing. Now that it’s been reposted (if it is a repost) and the name is changed, it makes it look like there was no Part 2.
    I’m sure you can figure out a way around that Jack, just something to note for folks that are using tags to scan certain topics/guests.

  24. Fwiw, Steven’s web page link to getting the siphon bulbs is a GOOD deal! I shopped a local marine supply store yesterday and Wally World today and they both want $19. 🙁
    I was told that the new EPA requirements , including a mandated 2 year warranty, have driven up the price. The rigging for an outboard motor setup will run one in the $45 range now for a bulb, 2 end fittings & 6′ of fuel line! Re-frickin-diculous.

  25. Steven Harris is the best! I’m in the market for a freezer, does Steven have a particular brand or model he thinks is the best? Thanks.

  26. Over a few years I stockpiled 10) 55 gal. drums of diesel for my truck and backhoe. Several of these were at least a couple years old before I learned about PRI-D. After adding that, plus the anti algae agent that they sell separately, I figured I was good to go. Two of the oldest drums were the blue plastic drums, the rest were steel barrels. When I began using them I found algae contamination in both plastic drums and one of the metal ones. The contamination looks like clear snot and also has granules of black asphalt in it. These were among the barrels that had sat the longest without PRI-D.
    After researching the problem I bought a gear pump designed for diesel and a clear plastic filter with a brass screen from Northern tool.
    I plumbed the pump to draw through the screen filter and then into a filter block with a regular screw canister fuel filter. It then passes through another filter block with a water filter and finally through an aluminum transmission cooler with very strong magnets on each side of it. This last item is just my copy of the “polishers” I saw advertized on the web, and it may be just so much snake oil, but since I had the stuff lying around I went ahead and used it. I added a pressure gauge between pump and filters so I would know when to change them.
    All told, this cost about as much as the three barrels of bad fuel, but I needed a 12v. transfer pump anyway. After a single pass through the filters the fuel was clean and has given me no problems. I add Lucas injector cleaner when using it in case it has lost any lubricity and because I really believe it pays for itself.
    If anyone gets a chance to get a decent amount of diesel because it’s contaminated, they might consider it worth the time to try and clean it up like this.
    I think it’s best to store fuel in metal drums with GOOD SEALS rather than in a single large tank if it’s to be stored long term and in large volumes.. That way you only expose one barrel at a time to venting that can cause condensation. I’m a little leery of using the plastic drums because of my experience, but it was probably my fault for not using PRI to begin with, and I may not have had a perfect seal on those plastic barrels.
    Any rain that falls in your state will invariably find it’s way to the threads on the bung seal if it possibly can. Barrels should be kept dry and covered and at as cool and even a temperature as possible.
    These gear pumps are NOT recommended for gasoline.
    I have also used PRI-G for gas and have had no problems with fuel stored 4 years.

    • those magnets to DO NOTHING…there is no metal in your fuel and the magnets have ZERO EFFECT (period) on the fuel in any way, sense or form.

      Its all just magic beans to steal your money.

      Good work on cleaning up the diesel, can you post exactly which filters and pumps you used from where for those of us that need to clean up our old fuel.


  27. Steve and Jack were talking about storing up to 12 5-gallon cans of gas. Is it safe to store this amount you car garage?

    • 12 Jerry cans is 60 gallons- if you park 2 pickup trucks in your garage you will have pretty much the same amount in the garage in the fuel tanks of the trucks. That said you are always better off keeping fuel as separate as possible in case of fire- I have a small shed I keep most of my fuel cans in, and you can buy the small plastic garden lockers that you can put out against a fence at a reasonable price, a lot of my customers use those for their jerry cans and propane cylinders.

  28. Quick couple questions for Jack and Steve about using the stand by natural gas back up generators that were alluded to at the end of today’s show…

    I currently live in southern California and I’m in the process of purchasing my first home. Do either of you know typically how quickly the natural gas company would turn the gas back on after a significant quake? I assume its based off of the number of damaged pipes in the area.

    I’m trying to gauge if its worth it to install one in the new place or not. I also don’t know enough about kilowatts to gauge what size unit I would need to power our house. It’s 1600 sq ft with your standard appliances (of which include gas appliances like the oven, water heater, dryer, furnace and fire place) and we’d obviously limit huge power sucks like central AC during a time of emergency. Could you give me a ball park estimate on what you think our kilowatt needs are? Obviously its difficult without me going through and listing every appliance in the house but even if you could say 5-15kw vs. 40-50kw for a typical American home of that size.

  29. Hi Jack and Steve,

    Simple question….When using the 15 gallon HDPE barrels for fuel storage how much air space should you leave at the top before you seal it?



    • Preper Jim…there is no way in hell a metal drum has more durability than these HDPE drums… you drop a metal drum from a pickup, it’ll split (when full), it’ll bend, the seams can break, and they can rust.

      Its funny how people are getting overly concerned with DOT regulations, where is the DOT sticker on a red 5 gallon fuel tank from walmart ?? there is not one that I have seen.

      There are all types of laws that say you can’t store or hoard food, yet…we’re doing it. Are you worried about FEMA coming over and checking you out ? There are all sorts of laws and insurance reasons to NOT do the majority of what you are doing… but isn’t food and water storage and all of this suppose to be YOUR insurance, the insurance that you can’t buy and that no one can give to you ?

      We’re telling you here what works… what works great. You can always find a million reason to NOT do it and bring up every fear both real and imagined to move you to inaction and do nothing.

      Lots of people are saying things here to get you not to do it, who have never done it. I’ve done it, with 15 gallon HDPE barrels for 10+ years. Trips around the USA with a camper, storage in my home, in my industrial facility, in my garage.

      The end result… you’ll have to make the final decision on what is right for YOU to do in your particular situation. I’m just bringing hard facts to the situation for you.


  30. Another question—
    Would the bung gasket in a barrel designed for water be suited for gasoline?
    A gasoline can usually has a viton gasket.

  31. I am a chemical engineer and have worked in the industry for 20 years now. I deal with hazardous materials day in and day out.

    I am concerned about the storage and transportation information given by Steven Harris. Frankly, just because he has done it without incident does not mean it was a smart thing to do. Using containers not meant for fuel storage is a risk. If they are not designed and tested for that function, you are taking a huge risk. Why place yourself and your family at risk?

    The right way to do it is purchase containers which conform to Department of Transportation guidelines. You can tell if they are DOT approved by a marking like “1H1/Y2.0/150” on the side. It will often be molded in drum. The 1H1 stands for plastic drum, non-removable head, Y = good for packing group II or III, 2.0 is the maximum specific gravity and 150 is the hydrostatic test pressure in kPa (21.8 PSI). I would consider this the minimum spec for a drum storing or transporting gasoline. Below are two examples.

    Additionally, he stated it was OK to let a drum heat up and expand and nothing would happen. When this happens, the plastic is deforming and getting thinner. A thinner wall is a weaker wall. Most plastic drums won’t return to their original shape. That is, they will remain deformed and bloated, and thus, weaker than designed. Plus, if they sit out in the sun, they start to break down. Don’t let plastic drums sit in the sun. You are just asking for trouble.

    Table 7.1-2 in this publication lists the pressure of different fuels. The highest pressure is 16.1 @ 100F. Imagine 120F if sitting in the sun absorbing radiant heat. You might reach 20 PSI or more. That is not to say the drum will burst, but you are pushing the testing limits.

    Finally, you need to carefully consider transporting anything more than 10-15 gallons in your personal vehicle. You can argue to a police officer that it is “consumer quantities”. If it is a company truck, they might argue you need a DOT hazmat license and permit to transport gasoline and fine you.

    To me, I would stick with metal jerry cans instead of a 15 gallon barrel.

      • I’m not trying to be a smart ass. Saying HDPE is still HDPE is like saying gasoline is gasoline. There are many different types of High Density Polyethylene grades and there are many different grades of gasoline. I’ve also worked in plastic production facilities that make the actual plastic that is being discussed here so I know something about this topic as well.

        With regards to containers, there are essential differences between containers, mainly the thickness and closures. Packaging designed for water is not designed for chemicals. Chemicals such as gasoline generate much higher pressures so the container must be able to withstand much higher pressures. In the links above, the containers are 0.11 inches thick and 0.07 inches. None of the water barrels I can google on line publish the thickness. Many of the water barrels are DOT certified anyway. I would just not get any jug and assume it is safe to store gas. Just look for the stamp and you will know. If anyone wants me to interpret the markings, I would be happy to assist.

        The government never certifies packaging. All they do is say it must be designed and tested for the service. So, private companies design the packages for the hazardous material and then have an outside lab perform the tests. There are three tiers of tests, each more stringent. Gasoline is Packing Group II, hence the “Y” designation on the approved packing backed up by the 150 (minimum) kPa pressure test.

        For a few bucks, you can be sure. Why take the risk?

        • Good point gasoline is gasoline! The difference between 87 and 89 octane is a label not reality. So great point so you trust the DOT and Uncle Scam and I will trust common sense. By the way I remember before all this safety bullshit started many a young many putting gas in a pop bottle for enough to mow the lawn and yet none of them ever blew up. I laugh at stupid shit about not letting your vehicle run near a pump while about 15 billion running vehicles run past you.

    • Prepper Jim.

      WOW>… what a comment. kick ass stuff. Thank you for taking the time too write that and explain the whole UN Rating Liquid 1H1/Y1.8/150 thing.

      I’ll be the first to tell you… I did not know that. I did not know about the UN rating system. If you have a link to something wiki that explains more on that… please post it so we can decode stuff in the future.

      I’m going to have to look at my drums for the UN Rating Liquid 1H1/Y1.8/150 on it…but I don’t think its there, but they are identical to the drums you gave us the links to on grainger. I “SUSPECT” that all of the ‘blue poly’ and ‘white poly’ HDPE drums that we are going to find in the USA that look exactly like the ones I posted on and the links you posted are going to be the UN Rating Liquid 1H1/Y1.8/150.

      As far as the drums expanding and contracting, they take it. I have helped friends in Tucson store gasoline and they were behind the garage with an ambient of over 110F and sometimes they got direct sunshine. I have had MY BARRELS in Tucson, and in Phoenix, in August, IN THE SUN in the back of my pickup truck. They expand and bloat out…but not to the point like you are blowing a bubble gum bubble. Then I have taken the drums and driven to the mountains from the desert, like from phoenix up yarnell grade to the prescot area and had the drums contract in. I’ve then drove to Yellowstone where it was 33F at night in August, and the drums contracted even more. They come back, they bounce right back to their original shape. I have had them for years and years in my garage and for years in a storage ‘semi truck’ out in the sunshine and the heat and the cold of winter for over 5 years and I have over 12 years of experience on these barrels. They do not break… they do not wear out, they are plenty thick enough and the seal for the bung is good for gasoline…. even if they are called ‘water barrels’ and are ‘blue poly’ barrels, does not mean that they are the lowest rated barrels and do not handle the flammable liquids. HDPE is good for gasoline, and its ‘food grade’ at the same time (but not after you’ve put gasoline in them 🙂

      So while I am not 100% certain, but I am 98% sure that my barrels are UN Rating Liquid 1H1/Y1.8/150 I can tell you for a fact the hard experience I have with these drums.

      BUT ALL OF YOU PREPPERS…don’t believe me. Go get your own barrel, like from the car wash as so many have, and you fill it full of gasoline and then tighten down the bung with a WRENCH and then you lit it sit for a day, go out and sniff next to the bung… do you smell gasoline ? Do it next week, then do it next month, then keep on doing it every month for a year and keep on doing it there after. Yes, Jack and I and all of his other FANTASTIC guests that make up this community that WE are a part of bring you some GREAT information and KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM that you can use…but you still need to test it yourself, make sure it works for you in your situation and there is the chance that we could be wrong. I just might of never in my life in the industrial area of the midwest never seen a drum that was NOT UN Rating Liquid 1H1/Y1.8/150 however someone in california getting drums form a pesticide company might have a completely different drum, that looks like ours that is not UN Rating Liquid 1H1/Y1.8/150.

      So you guys gotta look, gotta test, listen to what is said on the show and in these forums and make a decision for yourself. I caution heavily against decisions that move you to IN ACTION. LOTS of people who have never done a thing will tell you every reason real and imagined of why you should NOT do something because they have never done it. Prepper Jim is NOT one of those guys. He brings wisdom to this conversation. I’m telling you my experience. Get 1 barrel and test it then move forward, but if its 5 gallon containers for 15 gallon or 30 gallon or 55 gallon drums for water or gas or diesel or kero… do something…do something and move forward.

      Best to ALL of you guys and the great comments.

      p.s. I just remembered something, all of our fuel tanks on our cars and trucks are now blow molded HDPE tanks. I KNOW.. I was an engineer for Jeep and Truck Engineering for Chrysler Corporation and I had over 400 thermocouples on vehicles and I tested them in the desert from 1990 to 2000 in August, in Phoenix (actually Whitman, near Wickenberg) and in Death Valley and in Las Vegas and on Bakers Grade and with an ambient over 110F and with a PAVEMENT temperature of over 145F WITH a muffler and catalytic converter about a foot away from the fuel tank. We had thermocouples in the exhaust gas, on the surfaces of the exhaust and on the entire wall of the fuel tank and in the gasoline itself and on any heat shields we had around the fuel tank, if we had a fuel tank, and this was with a full size Dodge Ram loaded to GVW and with a trailer at GCVW ( as heavy as everything can get) and we were driving up to an 8% grade in 110F ambient and full sunshine in August. Remember, the pavement, less than 1 foot away from the tank is over 145F, and we would run the vehicles, and then idle them in an enclosed area, as bad as it gets. So the HDPE tanks got plenty of heat. This is by far a much more extreme situation for an HDPE gasoline fuel tank than what your drum is going to experience. I think I remember the ‘flow’ temperature of the plastic was around 230F. at that temperature you get a little ‘volcano’ of plastic that will erupt out of the tank and form a hole, this would be from localized heating like from the exhaust system radiating on the front of the fuel tank. I HAVE, repeat, I HAVE gotten HDPE vehicle fuel tanks TOO HOT and destroyed them. It always happens in the vapor area of the tank, it never happened in the fuel area of the tank, because the fuel cools the tank….and NO there would NOT be an explosion even if the gasoline did get out of the tank on the vehicle.

      So really guys, these HDPE drums are NOT fragile, they can take what ever you are going to dish out to them and bounce back (in more than one way.)

    • Here are a few links that explain the DOT/UN (one and the same now for the most part) ratings:

      Now I am getting flashbacks to the Army HAZMAT class I had to take a while ago…. some interesting stuff mixed with lots of boring, and the most inarticulate, boring instructor I have ever had.

  32. Actually, gasoline is not gasoline. There are so many different grades that it would blow your mind. There is a difference between gas that is sold in the north and at higher elevations.

    I’ve actually seen drums of flammable materials bloat, burst and catch fire. I’ve seen drums sit out in the sun crack and leak. I live with the snake every day and am constantly aware of the consequences. Hazardous materials must be dealt with like guns.

    But, in the end, do what you want. I will error on the side of safety in this regards because the consequences outweigh the benefits.

  33. Is there a grade/label of HDPE that is suited for chems such as gasoline that we can reuse? If you need the DOT approved container that’s one thing, but if the small container is filled and used one site who cares if the gov approves? I thought about getting some car gas tanks from the junk yard, but plastic barrels with handles would be better.

    • I wish you guys would NOT get fixated on these DOT approved containers. I’m asking you not to… its a distraction. You are taking the HDPE drums to the gas station, filling them up, then putting them back in the vehicle and taking them home.

      If you must, you’ll put then in your car or pickup and take them with you as you evacuate, IF you can evacuate. They are so darn tight you can put it in your trunk on its side. If the bung is wrench tight, it is not going to leak. This is going to be an evacuation, NO ONE is going to say “is that a DOT approved tank on your vehicle”. The first thing the cop is going to ask you is if you are carrying any weapons.

      I find it amazing how so many people WHO DO NOT TRUST the government to PROTECT them and thus are PREPPERS are now so darn concerned that a HDPE barrel is NOT UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION approved !!!

      is it just me or do you find this funny ?? a paradox ?? I love you guys, all of you, ALL of your comments…but…what’s the right word for this situation ??


      • The DOT does not design or test any packaging. All the DOT does is specify what tests the packages has to pass (temperature, pressure, stacking, vibration, dropping, etc). Private companies design the packaging. Private companies test and stamp the packaging. Private companies are the ones that ensure they are fit for the service. Ultimately, it was private companies who wrote the standards, not Uncle Sam.

        And another thing, you should not store the drum on its side with the seal exposed to the liquid. First of all, if you are using a gasket that is designed for water, it may break down when exposed to hydrocarbons. It does not happen immediately, but over time. Once again, I’ve seen it time and time again. Even if the gasket is designed for hydrocarbons, they are not designed for continuous exposure to the liquid. Store your gasoline containers upright. Always.

        I do this stuff day in and day out with much more hazardous materials than gasoline.

        • I had another though while driving in to work today.

          As Modern Day Survivalists, we prepare for events that are high impact and low probability. We spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars preparing each year for things that are highly unlikely (not impossible) to ever impact our family. It is not a paradox to take a relatively low dollar chance and increase your risk?

          Another example will be selecting the proper gauge wire for the service. I could take the risk and use a 16 gauge wire for my 110 volt AC or I could use an appropriately sized 12 gauge wire. The wires are sized and tested for the amps. Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is the certifying agency. Would you use an electrical cord not certified by UL? If not, why not? If someone said they used a 16 gauge wire for their 110 volt AC system for years, would you follow that advice in your home?

          It is a similar argument with gas cans. I can use a can rated for 100 kPa (14.7 psi) or one suited to 150 kPa (22 psi). The containers are sized and tested for material compatibility and the pressure (among other design conditions). In this case, the DOT sets the standards and private companies do the testing, just like UL does for electrical equipment.

          The question is, how much risk do you want to take for the possible consequences. For me, the $333 difference (storage of 50 gallons of gasoline) is not worth the risk.

          If someone wants me to look up the testing standards for gasoline storage and transportation containers, I will.

  34. I was was going to call in about fuel cans, storage, siphons, pretty much every thing that you discussed in this episode. Great show. I was looking at fuel storage containers and ended up looking at modern scepter jerry used by the US military, but for some reason they are only available in Canada. Ebay has them but are way over priced. I’ve seen some of the older welded jerry cans but found some have been freshly painted which concerns me. I can’t believe how difficult it is to get a useful fuel container that I can pour without spilling. Its really maddening!

    I like the 15 gallon drum, but would also like a good jerry can or two. Saw new ones from Briggs and Stratton and harbor frieght but it has that spout that I can’t stand. Do you recommend as far as jerry cans? Is the pain/rust a concern?

  35. Steve,

    In my area I can no longer get ethanol free gas. Does a tightly sealed container, like a properly sealed 15g barrel, eliminate the need to worry about ethanol in stored gasoline? Do either of the additives you mentioned do anything so stabilize the ethanol? Is ethanol even something I should be worried about?


    • Steve will tell you and has said many times when properly stored Ethanol isn’t anything to even worry about. You know that stuff you add to gas if you have some water in it to fix it? Well, it IS ETHANOL. Stored as Steven advises in this episode the difference between Ethanol gas and normal gas is nothing. Man I wish someone would finally kill dead the ethanol boggy man.

    • Wow.. thanks to Modern Survival’s comment… I don’t need to say a thing.

      but I’ll say it again, ” STOP THE DAMN WITCH HUNT ON ETHANOL” Its stuff you pour down your throat and all of a sudden you think its going to drastically change this mixture of a 1000 chemicals called gasoline.

      Its like a witch hunt. So and so in the village just got very sick, well that witch must of done it… darn.. my motor won’t start… it must be that damn ethanol that is doing it.

  36. So, now that I’ve purchased two new 15gal barrels and started using them (they’re great!), I discover that mine are rated for 100 kPa, not 150.

    Mr. Harris, my question is, what are the barrels you have been using and abusing for the last decade pressure rated at?

  37. I did the same thing… mine are marked 100 as well. I have to admit, I am a bit disappointed. I did not realize this was a (potential) issue till I saw the post on the forum.

  38. This thread has gotten quite complicated and I see that Steve has replied to a couple of my replies. I am going to move my responses over to the forum with a cross-post to my blog for clarity. Once I get that done, I’ll post a link.

    One comment does concern me: “LOTS of people who have never done a thing will tell you every reason real and imagined of why you should NOT do something because they have never done it. Prepper Jim is NOT one of those guys. He brings wisdom to this conversation. I’m telling you my experience.”

    This really is unnecessary. I am a chemical engineer with 20+ years experience buying, producing, packaging, storing and shipping highly hazardous chemicals all over the world. I could walk out my office door and put my hands on dozens of plastic drums with chemicals far more dangerous than gasoline. I know what I am talking about because I’ve done it day in and day out for 20 years. I guess I could further establish my credentials, but find it unnecessary. If you’d like to see a picture of a bloated chemical drum, let me know. If you want me to put my hand in front of the picture when I take it, let me know. This should not be personal, but based upon facts.

  39. Pingback:Gas Storage Pt 3 | Winter Ant

  40. I have the same question as @rutger and @freelancer. I didn’t realize there was a difference and got the 1H1Y14100 barrels based on the podcast. Now I see these posts. Is that what Steve has been using?

    • “Y” does not mean it is OK for gasoline. Y is only a general category for packaging material. You still must worry about packing compatibility and rating for the expected pressure.

      If you are going to store or transport gasoline in these 15 gallon, closed top, HDPE containers, my recommendation is to look for 1H1/Y1.8/150. The 1.8 is not important (any number >1 is OK). If you see an X instead of a Y, you are good. Z is bad. The 150 corresponds to the pressure rating in kPa. I recommend anything >150. 100 kPa is not enough in my opinion. If you keep the drum below 90F and out of the sun, a 100 kPa drum is probably (just probably) OK.

      If you can get information on the bung gasket material, EPDM is the best for for this service. There is other gasket material that is fine. Whatever you do:
      1) Don’t set the drum on its side and expose the bung to continuous contact with the gasoline. The gasket might not perform and leak.
      2) Don’t put the drum in the sun. First, the gas heats up and pressures up. This will cause the drum to bulge and expand. It will, thus, be thinner and weaker. I was doing more research and many drums of this type can stand being exposed to UV light for a long time. However, it is difficult to tell how much stabilizer is added to the HDPE to keep it from breaking down and cracking.

      If you must use plastic drums, please, please use the right ones. If you have any questions or want to know more about the codes, you can email me privately ( or on the forum (prepperjim). I am here to help and this is something that I know about.

  41. should we fill the barrels up to the top with fuel or leave any head room for air?

    just thinking for expanding and contracting, what is the best idea?

  42. In the healthcare industry, getting a compressor that is safe for human inhalation costs a little extra. Getting the engineer’s seal certifying it as “Medical Gas” costs an extra $20,000.

    I suspect that many lower rated HDPE drums could have been certified higher, but it would have cost more to do so, and since they weren’t going to need it for the use, they weren’t stamped as such. You charge more for the certification which is more about liability than reliability.

    In Steve’s case, he has empirical evidence showing that his recommendations work. Moreover, they’ve been working for a long time.

    On the other hand, if you’re just getting started what could it hurt to follow Prepper Jim’s advice? A few dollars?

    In the end, I guess the real question is what is at stake in case of a catastrophic failure? A 15 gallon gas spill? You’ll have to decide for yourself how much risk you want to take on.

  43. ok I have two questions…

    1. I get that you need to leave the drum or other container tightly sealed and just let it expand and contract. My question is if you need to use it when it is bloated wont the lite gasses you talk about blow off when you crack it open to use it?

    2. I went to buy some 5 gallon “water only” jugs to store gas in. I noticed that it had a 7 in the recycle code area thing. I looked this up and it said 7 = other and not HDPE. so i went over to the gas and diesel cans and to my surprise they had 7’s on them as well. While this would seem to say that 7 is ok, I didn’t know how big the catagory of 7 (other) is and if all 7’s would work. So will a 7 type plastic container work for holding gas?

    Thanks for your help Jack and Steve