What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival?

Curtis Lee
By Curtis Lee June 7, 2018 07:00

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival?

Practically any item you use on a regular basis today will become highly sought after in a survival situation. Petroleum-based fuels to power vehicles, machines and tools will be one of the most prized resources. Because of this, stockpiling for any long-term disaster or survival situation will necessarily include fuel. But what type of fuel is best for long-term storage? We discuss some of the options in the following article.

Fuel Storage Option #1: Gasoline

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival

For most people and in most situations, gasoline should be the perfect fuel to stockpile. This is because the single biggest use for fuel will be to power vehicles and generators, with the vast majority of vehicles and generators taking gasoline. But the problem with gasoline is that it doesn’t do well in long-term storage. This is because gasoline starts to break down after it’s refined, especially in the presence of oxygen. The speed at which gasoline becomes unusable is sped up when ethanol is mixed in, as is the case at most gas pumps across the nation.

You can lengthen the amount of time gasoline will stay usable by using airtight containers, only storing ethanol-free gasoline (you can find a database of where you can find ethanol-free gasoline at https://www.pure-gas.org/) and using fuel stabilizing additives, like Sta-Bil or PRI-G. These additives can help gasoline stay fresh for several years or much longer (in the case of PRI-G).

Another option is to purchase specially packaged and treated gasoline, like TruFuel 4-Cycle. If left unopened, this fuel is advertised as being good for five years. And if opened, it’ll stay fresh for two years.  A big disadvantage of specially packaged fuel is the price. It’s really expensive (you’re looking at about $25 per gallon) compared to buying fuel from the pump yourself and then adding a stabilizer to it. Another potential disadvantage is that depending on the type of packaged fuel, it may not be ideal for running in your automobile.

Related: Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP

Fuel Storage Option #2: Diesel

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival

After gasoline, diesel will probably be a popular choice for stockpiling due to the number of heavy vehicles, machines and a few consumer vehicles that run on diesel fuel. Another big advantage of storing a lot of diesel fuels is that it generally stores for a longer period of time than gasoline. Today’s ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel doesn’t last as long as the older mixtures used to, but untreated diesel fuel should last at least several months longer than untreated gasoline. And like with gasoline, there are a number of diesel fuel additives that can dramatically prolong how long diesel will stay fresh in storage.

Finally, another benefit of storing diesel over gasoline is that it’s safer, at least from a fire or explosion risk perspective. This is due to the fact that it’s usually harder to ignite diesel fuel than gasoline under typical atmospheric conditions.

Related: Best Fuels For Off-Grid Survival

Fuel Storage Option #3: Kerosene

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival

Kerosene is a good fuel option for storage due to its many uses, such as cooking and heating. But unlike diesel fuel and gasoline, kerosene powered vehicles or generators will be very rare, if they are available at all in a survival situation.

Despite its limitations, kerosene has several advantages when it comes to stockpiling. First, like diesel, it’s less volatile and dangerous than gasoline. Second, it stores for a relatively long period of time without the use of additives or special storage procedures, although additives can further extend its storage life. Third, kerosene is very energy dense and will provide a lot of heat per gallon, compared to other heating fuels. Fourth, kerosene is pretty easy and affordable to find and stockpile, like gasoline and diesel.

When choosing to store kerosene, one thing to be aware of the fact that it’s usually available in two grades: K-1 and K-2. K-1 is a more highly refined version of kerosene with less sulfur than K-2 kerosene. This means it burns much cleaner. But it’s also more expensive than K-2 kerosene, which has a much higher sulfur content. This higher sulfur content has the benefit of making the K-2 kerosene store longer, as the sulfur helps inhibit the growth of microbes.

Depending on what you will use the kerosene for, you may need the cleaner K-1 kerosene. But if you can get away with K-2, it’s better to stockpile because it’s usually cheaper than K-1 kerosene (although it may be harder to find) and it should store for longer periods of time without additives or special storage steps.

Fuel Storage Option #4: Lamp Oil

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival

Lamp oil is a good fuel to stockpile for your lighting needs because it can store for many years without special additives or storage techniques. However, it’s very expensive and it’s primary application is for lighting. Therefore, if you choose to stockpile it, make sure you have other fuels to use for your other needs. However, it’s nice to have a small amount along with an oil lamp to provide an alternative form of lighting that also produces a little heat, which is nice in the winter time.

Related: How To Make Survival Lamps With Used Cooking Oil and Mason Jars

Fuel Storage Option #5: Ethanol-Based Fuels

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival

E85 is an ethanol-based fuel that’s 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Some vehicles are designed to run on fuel with very high ethanol concentrations, such as E85. This might lead you to believe that storing fuels high in ethanol is a good idea. It’s not. Ethanol is horrible for most internal combustion engines. It’s a powerful solvent that can damage plastic and rubber components. So even if you have an engine or other device that can handle this ethanol fuel, you can’t reliably use it for anything else.

Also, for internal combustion engines, ethanol-based fuels are bad for long-term storage because ethanol attracts water. In fact, it bonds with water like a magnet. Then there’s the fact that ethanol has about 1/3 less energy than gasoline. So even if you can store an ethanol fuel perfectly, you’re getting less energy per gallon than gasoline.

Fuel Storage Option #6: Propane

What’s the Best Fuel to Stockpile for Survival

Propane is an interesting fuel to stockpile. It’s comparable in price to diesel or gasoline and it has many potential uses, including use in internal combustion engines, like some vehicles and powered tools. Another great thing about propane is that with a storage tank in good condition, it can be stored practically indefinitely. Then there are the many grills, appliances and generators that run off propane. So for those who have a propane generator or appliance, stockpiling propane is something to strongly consider.

The biggest disadvantage of propane in a survival situation is that it probably won’t have as many uses as gasoline. Very fuel vehicles run off of propane and there aren’t many powered tools that run off of propane either. But if you do have something that needs propane, especially a generator, propane is great for stockpiling, as long as you can do it safely.

Another disadvantage of propane is that because it’s a gas at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure, a leak within an enclosed area can be very dangerous due to an explosion risk.

The best fuel to stockpile will depend on what you need the fuel for, as well as your willingness and ability to take the steps to properly store it. The one universal piece of advice is to avoid stockpiling fuel that contains ethanol.

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Curtis Lee
By Curtis Lee June 7, 2018 07:00
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  1. left coast chuck June 7, 15:15

    First, there is an error in the last paragraph of the discussion of kerosene. It reads: ” But if you can get away with K-2, it’s better to stockpile because it’s usually cheaper than K-2 kerosene”

    It should read “cheaper than K-1 kerosene.”

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on kerosene because it is a more complicated subject than the paragraph above would indicate. However, after I bought my kerosene lamps I decided to do a little reading on the subject and was amazed at how complicated it is. I always thought kerosene was kerosene.

    Lamp oil is the cleanest burning of the kerosenes. It is the oil that you see in the little table lamps in restaurants with faux atmosphere. It can be purchased in prepackaged little glass lamps complete with wick and oil that you throw away when the fuel is consumed. It can also be purchased in bulk 1-gallon containers. I bought some a while back because I thought I was scoring a great price on kerosene. It turned out to be lamp oil. I think it matters where you buy it and if you buy it on sale. It is not always more expensive than kerosene.

    Lamp oil also contain fewer BTUs than K1 or K2. This makes it a better candidate, in my opinion, for lighting in the summer time. It does not provide as much light per unit of fuel as K1 or K2 due to its lower BTU content.

    K1 is the next cleanest fuel under lamp oil. It contains more BTUs than lamp oil. If you are going to use a kerosene lamp indoors and are seeking bright light, K1 is the kerosene to choose.

    Finally K2. If you burn K2 in your indoor kerosene lamp you will drive yourself outside. It has the strongest kerosene oder. But, it also contains the most BTUs per unit. If you are using a kerosene heater inside you will get the most bang for your buck if you use K2. Be prepared though for a strong kerosene oder. You won’t get quite the odor you get from a lamp because the combustion is more complete (my opinion). You can use K2 in a kerosene lamp outdoors or in an highly ventilated building like a barn.

    The Deitz folks have a very extensive description of various kerosene fuels on their website. If you are contemplating using kerosene as a lighting fuel, I would highly recommend reading their page on kerosene. I always thought kerosene was kerosene which included diesel and JP4. I was certainly wrong in that thought.

    By the way, do NOT use JP4 in any device that uses kerosene. It is kerosene on steroids.

    Reply to this comment
    • CarmenO June 7, 22:55

      The problem with “lamp oil” is that many come with other things included, mainly to make it smell “better”, so you can end up with something toxic, if you don’t make sure that what you are really getting is real “lamp oil” which as you mentioned “is the cleanest burning of the kerosenes”, it is pretty close to K1, just slightly more refined.

      Reply to this comment
    • Karl June 12, 03:32

      I find my lamp oil for free at the County Household Hazardous Waste Center in the reuse section . I’ve managed to fill up a large box of bottles of half to near full bottles. Apparently people are getting away from oil lamps here and probably switching battery operated or solar lanterns or lights. I’ve also found so many oil lamps at 2nd hand retailers for cheap along with stores like Menards. We have ordered wicks from amazon or can be found at the hardware stores like Ace.

      Reply to this comment
    • Tarheel November 2, 17:54

      (JP4 is used as aviation fuel)

      Reply to this comment
  2. Pete June 7, 15:39

    There are also propane powered refigerators and heaters available.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Clergylady June 7, 15:42

    Interesting article. Since I both heat and can cook on my rocket stove/ pellet stove.I’ll be storing pellets and wood ready to burn. Lamp oil and wicks for my antique lamps and candles both cheap and homemade will be on my save list. Propane in smaller 5 and 35 gallon sizes besides the 250 gallon bottle for my home. And a few 5 gallon cans of diesel for the tractor. Then last but not least a few 5 gallon cans of regular gasoline. We use and refill to keep supplies fresh and to save money. Nearby gas is sometimes $.20 more than in town, so we wait if possible and get gas and refill empty cans on the weekends. The same with diesel.
    It is just a way of life out here.
    The same goes for food. We grow, can, buy, and dry for winter and other emergencies. Just an old fashioned way of life. Sort of like my bags of hard candies. They can freshen your mouth, keep your mouth wet, pick up a mood just because they taste good, quiet a crying fussy kid, and give my diabetic neighbor a little pick up. Even my BOB has hard candies in it… So does my first aid bag. If I’m butterflying a cut, a mint in my mouth helps me out. Guess I’m still a little kid at heart.
    Being prepare for life should be a way of life. If you use it, clean it, sharpen it, oil it, fill it up, then put it away, like you found it, where you found it. Then you’re ready for the next thing on the to do list.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 7, 21:23

      Clergylady you are already living the life of a prepper. At the end of the world you will hardly even notice while the rest of us are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

      Reply to this comment
  4. terry June 7, 15:52

    This is a very relative question. I have always thought coal was the best fuel. It will heat your house, Cook your food. Run a steam engine for electricity. Or if you have the skills build coal to gas converter for gas engines. But the best reason is it can be stored in a earthen pit and it never goes bad.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 7, 21:22

      You can, but it requires a large storage space. When I was a child we heated our home with coal and used a small coal stove called a bucket-a-day for hot water in the summer.

      The bucket-a-day used pea coal. The furnace used a much larger size coal. I don’t know the number or name of the size of that coal.

      If you want to buy anthracite which is the coal that one uses to heat one’s home or to make hot water, you need to go to this website: http://www.blaschakcoal.com/residential-uses/dealer-locator

      I doubt seriously prior to the end of the world happening that you could find a coal stove for sale in the PDRK. Some other states might have the same restrictions.

      Inasmuch as anthracite has historically come from Pennsylvania and, perhaps, West Virginia, I doubt after the EOTW you will find a supply of coal on the left coast.

      Reply to this comment
  5. GreatNorthernPrepper June 7, 16:02

    Truly, the most prepared preppers will find a way to omit the need for all of the above fuels. Converting to wood burning options is the best bet. Especially in New England where there’s an abundance of trees.

    I even found an article online about a man who converted his pick-up truck to only burn wood as fuel.
    (I need to get ahold of that guy!)

    Remembering to help replenish what you cut down will ensure a lifetime of fuel. If you take down an acre of trees in one year, be sure to plant an acre of trees as well. You could turn a 10 acre lot into a cycle-grow, where one acre is cut per year, and the following year, you replant. Seeds are not hard to come by. Trees everywhere shed tens of thousands of them annually. (Maple, for instance, releases those ridiculous seed-pods that we used to call helicopters when we were kids.) And every few years, they have a “mast-year” where the number of seeds released is quadrupled.

    Wood for heat, cooking, etc.

    Also, as far as refrigeration goes, do what the Quakers do. On one of the coldest days in winter – again, in northern states – they cut large blocks of ice from a nearby lake, wrap them in sawdust, and store them in an ice-house, where they last literally until the following Autumn.

    Sometimes you have to think outside the box. And other times you have to take a look back into history to find the answers. Fossil fuels are not the future, though. Stockpiling something that cannot be replenished will only get you so far in a SHTF scenerio.

    Reply to this comment
  6. andy June 7, 16:04

    In addition to quite a bit of the above (except E-85), I’d have though wood should make that list. Takes about a year to turn hardwood into good firewood for heating or cooking after it is cut/split/stacked in dry shed, so the fact it’s growing around you doesn’t make it a great fuel. I keep 12-16 cords at any given time.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Spike June 7, 16:09

    How many years can I store an unopened can of K-2 kerosene verses K-1 fuel? Doesn’t K-1 fuel make good lamp fuel too?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 7, 19:58

      What are you going to do with the K1 or K2 kerosene? Of you are going to burn it in a lamp or heater, it is my opinion that it will last until it is a dried up lump in the bottom of the can. It is when you start to use it for driving a motor that you run into problems.

      If you develop mold or other goodies in the kerosene, I would just strain them out. If you are using a pressurized kerosene lamp I would want to strain it through the finest straining material I could find. For a plain old wick kerosene lamp, Just getting the chunks out should do the trick.

      Reply to this comment
      • Tisha June 9, 09:54

        This is probably a dumb question, but have you heard of Diethylene Glycol? I have a few gallons for indoor, small folding cooking stoves. Supposedly it is shelf stable for around 20 years. Can be used kind of like 36-hour or 100-hour candle stoves. Can be used indoors and has no odor.

        Reply to this comment
  8. Armin June 7, 16:31

    So what I get from this article, Curtis, is that basically NO fuel is good for long term storage. And I knew that going in. And for gasoline the formulation has to be different for summer than it is for winter. So, petrol doesn’t keep well. Diesel the same. Kerosene is good to run your heaters but not so much for a vehicle although there MAY be ways to modify a vehicle to run on kerosene. I know a diesel will run on other fuels besides actual diesel fuel but not sure about kerosene. Lamp oil speaks for itself. In an emergency you MIGHT be able to modify an engine to run on ethanol. If so that’s a renewable fuel. I know that engines can be set up to run on either natural gas or propane but I would think that in a crisis situation both of these would be in short supply fairly quickly and once again used more for heating than reciprocating engines. I have come across articles where engines have been able to run on wood gas and that may be a more viable option in an extended grid down situation. It’s fairly easy to build a wood gas generator and as it uses WOOD as its
    primary source of energy so again it’s a renewable resource. I hate being negative or critical of people taking the time to right articles but I also feel I should be honest and basically this article is useless as most people already know that most “normal” fuels for reciprocating engines do not do well in long term storage.

    Reply to this comment
    • CarmenO June 7, 23:23

      I hate to be negative and critical but if you have not already built a “fairly easy to build wood gas generator” to run a car, you are talking theory. No matter how many article you have read. Reading is the easy part, building and converting is the problem. Best option if you want to “drive” get a horse and plenty of feed. Of course then you need a farm, or, I guess, a stable.

      Reply to this comment
      • dp June 8, 06:08

        CarmenO – My comment was directed at the folks that were curious about wood gasifiers. Personally, I would never build a wood gasifier to run my car/truck. It is far too large and problem prone to be worth it for me.

        IMO, if you want to run your car off of something near free, then you can run off of gasoline vapors in conjunction with a couple of HHO generators. Running off of the gasoline fumes will greatly extend your gasoline reserves, but neither HHO nor gasoline fumes alone will provide enough energy to do actual work.

        BTW, I have been an auto mechanic for over 25 years, so none of these technologies are all that difficult for me to build. Trust me on this… if you can tear an entire car down to individual parts, and put it back together properly – then wood gasifiers do not present a real challenge. lol

        Reply to this comment
        • CarmenO June 8, 17:58

          Hint: people write here to enlighten other people, I am responding to enlighten other people because you make it sound that it’s something simple. And now you mention being a auto mechanic for over 25 years. I’m willing to bet that most people reading what you wrote are not auto mechanics with 25 years of experience. You are recommending something you don’t believe in. Let me quote you “I would never build a wood gasifier to run my car/truck. It is far too large and problem prone to be worth it for me.” What is wrong with this picture? If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. What I comment here is always based on my own personal knowledge.

          Reply to this comment
          • dp June 8, 21:56


            You seem to have comprehension issues, or maybe you are just mad about my comments and are looking for any excuse to argue.

            Someone mentioned running engines off of wood, and so I mentioned some sources where they could educate themselves if they are so inclined, as well as what the correct terminology was for the process for any further searches.

            That portion of my comment was like 3 lines long, and at no point did I recommend wood gasifiers.

            You are welcome to comment back, but get your panties out of a wad first… I don’t answer to you, and I will make any comment that I see fit.

            Reply to this comment
    • David Scott June 13, 01:36

      I have personally found that AV gas will keep fresh for well over a year. I use it in my riding bike, mower, and weedeater.

      Reply to this comment
    • dp February 15, 23:27

      Bill, after giving this some thought LPG or Propane is the best gas for long term storage. never goes bad and 1000 gallon +,tanks are expensive but common. In the process of converting a truck over now…

      Any gas engine is easy to set up. works just like gasoline. power factor (BTUs) are lower which is easily offset by advancing the timing because the octane is higher.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Clergylady June 7, 18:50

    I have a camper made to slide into the bed of pickup. I have it set up as a guest house. It has a working 3 way.refrigerator and a propane heater, cooktop and even propane lights. It stays hooked up to a 5 gallon bottle with a spare next to it. Motor home the same. All propane, gas generator, or electric. Need to refill onboard propane and gas tank.
    My home had a propane furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, and cook stove. For power outages, security lights on the property, and even night lights for my husband, we have solar lights. I like the rocket stove so much I heat water on top, cook on it, and centered my living room around it. I have clothes lines and two drying racks for bad weather. Solar llights for walkways, solar motion sensor lights, dusk to dawn solar lights on shop walls, and a solar motion light in the rabbit room with the panel outside.
    I just bought a lot of used Propanel $50. and recently tore down an old mobile home and saved most of the wood. That will skirt my newer mobile home. Used corrugated metal free from Craigslist and more of the recycled wood will build the outside of an outdoor shower room with a flush toilet, hand basin sink, and a pretty bathtub with gold faucets that match the sink. Perfect when BBQing with friends or summertime guests. Tub, shower, sink, and toilet all nice and priced just right…free. It will sit a few feet from a yard waterline and less than 10 feet from a sceptic tank. Waterlines will drain for the winter. Gray water will go to grapes and lilac bushes during summer when they need water the most.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Ron June 7, 18:57

    Over 50 years ago I found a car that I really wanted. I came home and told my dad that I found my car but I had to get back to the car company immediately. My dad told me that any time you don’t have time to make a decision don’t buy it. His advice has served me well. If you really want to sell more products you should change the way you do things. In my opinion you’ve devalued in my mind what you just sold.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Clergylady June 7, 19:19

    I live in high mountain desert. 6250 ft elevation. Wood is dead juniper bushes or dead or dying pinion. Some coal available from off of the Navajo reservation. Not close by. Sun rated at 6.55 hours full sun per day averaging over 300 days a year. So conservative use of wood for heat and solar and/or wind for energy uses. Propane while I have it is just easy. Without it we will be fine. As we skirt the new to us mobil home I will be incorporating berm and heat collection to vent into the home to supplement the rocket stove. Through the optional pellet hopper I can burn the chips from my chipper so twigs and smaller trash branches can still be saved for use in the winter.
    Last week we hauled home a fireplace and woodstove insert. I haven’t decided on a use for them yet but I will. They were free for getting them out of a friends yard. That included all the pipe for the fireplace and one piece of 6″ pipe for the insert. They even threw in two rolls of chickenwire.
    The wire arrived at just the right time. I found one of my hens and her hidden nest Last night just before sunset. We made a quick cage, threw in some straw and moved the hen and newly hatching chicks. Added a chick waterer and threw in food for the hen and the new babies. On egg was hatching as I moved them so I called a neighbor and kids to come watch. They are still talking about that this morning.
    We heated with coal in a basement furnace when we lived in Seattle when I was little. I always managed to get black….
    I lived on a reservation for a while. We heated with oil and cooked with wood in the mainhome and heated the guestrooms we stayed in with wood. We were cutting 15 cords a year with a permit from the forestry office there.
    I still miss that old cookstove and baking bread in it.

    Reply to this comment
    • IvyMike June 9, 01:23

      Clergylady, keep posting here, and keep giving us these little bits of your life story, just love hearing the life you lead!

      Reply to this comment
      • ezntn August 22, 09:46

        Reminds me of my childhood. No electricity, carry water from the spring, heat laundry water in a big black pot outdoors, all laundry done by hand, wood burning cook stove, no refrigerator, milk kept in spring, outhouse, going barefoot except in winter, unheated bedrooms, grew most of the food we ate, pork kept in the salt box. I think I will be able to survive.

        Reply to this comment
  12. left coast chuck June 7, 19:52

    The Japanese and the Germans used wood gas generators for privately owned cars and some low priority military vehicles during WWII. I don’t know if it was the technology of the times or the fact that they were jerry-built due to wartime exigencies. Whatever the reason, they ran poorly and were fairly unreliable. Better than walking, I guess, but not a whole lot.

    In addition to the fuels mentioned above, for lighting, we can always fall back on the oil lamp. Almost any heavy cotton fiber will make an adequate wick and any vegetable oil or fat will make fuel for an oil lamp.

    I have practiced with making oil lamps. I cut cardboard boxes in strips wide enough to fit inside a large tuna fish or chicken can. I insert a heavy piece of cotton fiber, such as the neckband of a 100% cotton t-shirt. I fill the can to the brim with any kind of vegetable oil. I tried canola, vegetable, corn, olive and if there is another kind of vegetable oil that is cheap, I tried that too. I tried six different kinds of oil in total.

    They all threw enough light to light a room so that one did not trip over a chair or ottoman. A single oil lamp enables you to read if you have the material close to the source of light. In my view how much you can see with an oil lamp will depend significantly on your vision. They all smoke heavily. In short order your drapes and walls will be sooty. In my view, they are a bottom of the ditch source. I used the lids of the tins for a snuffer. I also read that where oil lamps are used as the principal source of lighting the children suffer from lung disorders at a disproportionate rate compared to locales where oil lamps are not used.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp June 8, 06:17

      LCC – this is why oil lamps have chimneys. They both magnify the light, and draw air in the bottom for more efficient combustion. A properly designed, and adjusted, “hurricane” lamp does not produce all that much soot, along with many times the light of the “basically, home made candles” that you were experimenting with…

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 8, 15:32

        Oh, yes, no question that kerosene lamps with chimneys are infinitely better than the simple 10,000 year old oil lamp that I was messing with. I was attempting to ascertain if there was a difference in how cleanly different oils would burn. How long the tuna fish can of oil would last. How long the wick would last. And, finally, how much light such a lamp would furnish.

        The answers were: no difference that I could detect with naked eye in the amount of smoke or light cast. All seemed to burn at about the same rate depending upon wick height. With the wick at about 1 inch in height they would burn about eight to ten hours.

        With my preps, I try to find ways of surviving without any “modern” supplies. Kerosene is a “modern” supply. Sooner or later our supply of K1 or K2 will be gone. What then? I plan on using wood as a heat source which as other writers have pointed is a renewable resource. I plan on using boiling and distillation for water purification. Yeah, I have filters and chemicals but once they are gone, then what?

        Modern l.e.d.s are incredible for the amount of light they produce viz a viz the amount of electricity they use. The incandescent bulb was an incredible leap over kerosene chimney lamps which were an incredible leap over the candle or a wick in a pot of oil which in turn were better than firelight from a campfire.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp June 8, 18:01

          LCC, I agree that we can’t depend on fuel oil production starting back up any time soon after a SHTF scenario, but kerosene production has been around since the mid 1800’s, so it is reasonable that some enterprising person will begin producing this valuable product. It can be produced from coal as well as crude oil.

          I have also done some experimentation with alternative light sources, except that I have focused on candles. Many kinds of wax will work well, soy wax, paraffin wax, and bee’s wax to name a few.

          The candles burn much cleaner than oil, and are easily portable. Wax is another “fuel” that I stockpile when I find it on sale. Canning wax (paraffin) comes in 1 lb blocks, and the wax that is used for some of these hot wax beauty treatment machines in even larger batches…

          As long as we have bees we will have bee’s wax, and honey – Thank God… 🙂

          Reply to this comment
          • dp June 8, 18:19

            I forgot to add that turpentine is easily distilled from common pine resins, and can also be used as both lamp oil, and as a fuel for vehicles especially when mixed with alcohol.

            These are not ideal fuels for modern vehicles for many reasons which I won’t go into, but both the Japanese, and Nazi’s used these fuels during WWII due to shortages of oil based fuels, and both are easily produced with simple distillation processes.

            Not only that, but the Nazi’s discovered that the grain actually made better animal feed after the fermentation process.

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck June 4, 02:12

              I am sure every one has heard of Kobe beef, the wonderfully soft, delicious beef raised in Japan. Part of the secret of Kobe beef is that the cattle are fed the lees left over after making sake, the national Japanese drink. In addition, it is my understanding that ruminants create alcohol in one of their stomachs during their digestion process, so, yes, you do get milk from contented cows as one company used to advertise — they are buzzed all the time. That may also explain their sometimes erratic behavior. Many people act pretty stupid when they have alcohol in their system why should cows be different?

              If you like beef and you have never had Wagyu beef which is what Kobe beef is officially called, I highly recommend, as a one-in-a-lifetime treat, purchase some Wagyu beef and barbecue it lightly absolutely don’t overcook it. It is an esthetic gustatory treat. If I had the money, I would have it several times a week, but alas, my budget only covered that once-in-a-lifetime feast.

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              • dp June 4, 11:51

                I have heard of, but I don’t recall trying Kobe beef. Maybe I did as a child living in Japan, but that was a long time ago. 🙂

                Unfortunately, due to the extremely high price of Kobe – there is a very active counterfeit Kobe market. I read an interesting article related to this and how to spot fake Kobe.

                During WWII the Germans were forced to use alcohol as fuel due to Allied Naval blockades. They found that the grains from the distillation process could be fed to cattle, and resulted in better nutrition than unfermented grain.

                Alcohol will be a good renewable source of fuel in a SHTF scenario, and still being able to use the grain as feed is a real plus.

                Side note for those that care: nearly all USA corn and soy are now GMO crops.

                Reply to this comment
  13. dp June 7, 21:25

    Good article, and it covered a lot of important considerations. I agree with other comments in reference to wood and coal being excellent fuels for long term storage.

    There are add on kits that you can get to convert gasoline engines over to propane. Most will allow you to run off either gasoline or propane depending on which is available.

    There are numerous articles, and you-tube videos on how to build a wood gasifier system that will run basically any gasoline engine.

    Converting generators over to propane is a good option for folks that live out in the country, as propane is often your only option for gas appliances, heat, etc, so chances are good that you already have a 500-1000 gallon propane tank. The last time that I had a propane tank propane was much more expensive than either gasoline or diesel, but that may have changed.

    Reply to this comment
  14. left coast chuck June 7, 21:31

    Hey, guys, nobody hits a home run every time at bat. Some articles are more valuable than others. Even if there is no startling new revelation for some of us in the present article, it provides a topic for posting by the various followers of this site.

    It allows members of the list to provide the results of their experience and knowledge to other members. Our collective wisdom far exceeds anything that any individual one of us have and that is what makes this site such a valuable site, allowing the free exchange of information between followers.

    I am disappointed at the new screening that is taking place. It took more than an hour and a half for my post to appear this morning. I don’t know what other posts are lurking that may have already provided an answer to a question and so I will post an answer and find out that it was already answered more completely or accurately or was full of beans and needs to be rebutted, but it will take a couple of hours for it to show up.

    Maybe that is designed to stimulate more hits on the site and thus increase income. If it is, I think it is a poor means of increasing hits to the site and may indeed drive some posters from the site. I don’t know, but time will certainly provide an answer to that question.

    Personally, I think spirited, unhindered dialog between the followers of this site will provide more hits and any screening program. Just my two cents now worth about .00002.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp June 8, 05:34

      LCC – My posts are being shown immediately, so IDK how you got on the “watch list?” LOL just kidding, friend.

      I would say that if posts are being delayed then it is likely a temporary problem with the server, or a tactic to keep abusive posts off of the forum.

      Reply to this comment
  15. CarmenO June 7, 22:44

    I have some propane, but not much, mostly in case I need to use the little camping stoves. My fuel of choice is kerosene (K-1 is my only acceptable option, I don’t care that is more expensive, because my safety is worth it). That is why I have a kerosene stove (with a small oven attachment), a kerosene heater which I rarely use (many ways to keep warm even in Minnesota) and kerosene lamps. Why, because it is much safer and needs less ventilation. That said, I have about 1/2 dozen ways to cook and various ways to provide heat and even warm water without a regular heat source. If you have what they call a garden window, like I have, you can heat water using a camping water heating bad,even in winter. Or an area where it is very sunny. Gasoline, I do NOT store at all. As to large amounts of Propane, a neighbor of my daughter house exploded when the defective huge propane tank, somehow had a leak. Lucky it was Christmas and they were staying with their son so they could help the grandkids open presents. I have a dozen hundred year old trees which drop limbs all the time, so I made myself a rocket stove which is located by my basement door. I stack the wood in the yard. I’m not planning on moving from here. If the worse should happen (this will sound crazy) I am planing to make sure nothing is left to steal by people whose idea of planning is “I’ll steal your stuff”. Good luck with that. I’m already quite old, ready for kingdom come.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp June 8, 05:46

      CarmenO – excellent comment. I feel the need to store multiple fuels. I have gasoline with stabilizer for generators, chainsaws, vehicles, etc. After a couple of months I put it into one one the vehicles, and refill the storage with fresh gasoline. I have wood, and a couple of wood stoves, as well as kerosene heaters that need kerosene, and several of the the propane bottles for BBQ grills, propane stoves, or my pop up camper.

      Not to get too far off the subject, but I also buy the fake fire logs when they go on sale at the end of winter. These are great to cut slices off of to get your wood fire started easily. Kroger had cases of 6 logs that they gave away for $1.88 per case this spring… that is a lot of fire starter for under $2.00. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
  16. CarmenO June 7, 22:45

    oops, bag.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Bill June 8, 01:32

    Very good article.

    I myself have always stored diesel for long term fuel and never had any trouble with it at all. Back in 1996 I believe it was, I bought around 3,500 gallons of off road #2 diesel and treated it with PRI-D. For all stored fuel I buy off road or some times called farm gas or fuel, because there’s no sense paying the road tax when you’re going to use it in gen sets and equipment that will never be on the road. Back then I paid around 68 cents a gallon for off road diesel.

    Anyway, when I had all my tanks filled, I had a 55 gallon drum filled right up to the top. I did not add anything to this drum other than some good sealant on the bung threads to keep it air tight, and then I just stored it on a pallet in my machine shed. I opened it up 5 years later and it was still the exact same shade of pink as fuel I bought that day to compare it to.

    Maybe it was the older type of fuel with higher sulfur rates, or that I had almost zero room in the tank for air, I don’t know, but it was interesting to see that it not only looked the same, it ran in my skidsteer and 35kw diesel gen set with no problems at all.

    One thing I do remember reading about PRI-D is that even older fuel can be brought back to a usable state if you add PRI-D to it. This came from the company themselves, but I have not tried it, but it is something to keep in mind should you come across older fuel, and stock any of the PRI products, which by the way have an indefinite shelf life, again according to the company and what I read back then.

    Some thing else to consider putting away, are a few bottles of SEA FOAM.

    Sea Foam is the best product for cleaning out engines that have been sitting with old fuel in them that’s turned to gum and varnish, should you need a replacement engine for some reason.

    The trick I’ve found is to get the engine to start to some degree in the first place and for this I’ve use a spray bottle with gas or a can of ether starting fluid but I hate that stuff. Starting fluid will wash the cylinder walls clean of oil and then you have piston rings and cylinder walls in direct contact and massive amounts of wear and scoring will start to happen. Use it VERY sparingly.

    Once you get the engine to limp and spit and sputter, you might need to give her a shot or two or ten of gas and baby it to keep it going, but in 10 or 15 minutes it should start to run on its own….and probably very POORLY, but in another 15 minutes she should be running pretty smooth.

    This is what happened to me when I put away my 4wheeler. I did treat the fuel, BUT I kinda left it for a few years in my machine shed. I bought it in 1994 and even today, it has less than 150 miles on it so that tells you how often I ride it. Sea Foam had it purring in less than a half hour with new fuel and Sea Foam.

    That Sea Foam is great stuff to keep on hand to get engines running again that have been sitting long enough for the fuel to varnish up and plug ports.

    So PRI-D or G to bring fuel back to a usable state, and Sea Foam to clean out the engine.

    I’ve never stored gasoline for long term. I do have a 500 gallon tank that I keep full, but that’s just so I never have to stop at a gas station to fill up any of our vehicles. They top it off for me every month and depending on how much we drive, and who stops in to fill up, that will last 2 to 4 months. So I’m not worried about it going bad that quickly.

    I am considering putting up a 1,000 gallon tank and treating it with PRI-G for long term storage this summer. I just do not like to have too many different fuels on hand. I like everything or almost everything running on one fuel, but I do have a few older military gasoline engines and I want to be able to use those if need be. They’re military Jeeps and a Mark V British Ferret I bought for fun off of James Wesley Rawles, but all have points ignition, so EMP is not a problem.

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    • dp June 8, 06:28

      Bill, many good points. I would say that B-12 Chemtool is as good as seafoam, and much cheaper.

      As far as the old military vehicles you may want to look into some kind of lead substitute to add to the fuel for those vehicles only – due to the valves and seats likely not being designed for unleaded gasoline… that is unless you have upgraded them.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 8, 15:35

        Good point, dp. We forget that the older vehicles were designed to run on leaded fuel, not the “clean” fuel that is sold today.

        Reply to this comment
      • Bill June 8, 23:55

        Hi dp

        Thanks for the heads up on B-12 Chemtool. I’ve never heard of it, but I sure will be looking into it and putting some back.

        Also, as far as the leaded fuel goes, I honestly never even gave that a thought, but you’re right. Lead is a lubricant and older vehicles were designed to run on leaded fuel for sure, until the lead started showing up in the fish in the oceans and we eat sea food. From what I’ve read, it took over a decade for the levels of lead to dissipate in our oceans.

        I bought one of my Jeeps, an M38A1 from a city out west….I can’t remember where to be honest, but they used it to run fire breaks and routine patrols in the woods, and stored it inside. They were the only owner, and it has very low miles, so I’m guessing it’s all original, BUT it does have a 12vdc ignition and charging system on it now. Other than that, I seriously doubt they’ve done anything with the engine itself.

        You really have me thinking now. It just goes to show that just when you think you have your bases covered, you might not.

        I’ve been seriously considering converting all of them over to the Cummins 4MT 3.9L engines so everything I have runs on diesel besides the Ferret, and be done with it. I think this just might push me into doing it and getting it done.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp June 9, 03:16

          Bill, the only problem with the older engines is the valves and seats weren’t hardened. The lead coated these parts and not only lubricated them, but protected them from the combustion heat, and hammering effect.

          Older engines like yours were quite simple and fairly inexpensive to replace the seats and valves. The folks that you got them from may have already done it, but there is no way to tell unless they documented the update.

          I can’t argue with the advantages of having everything run on one fuel, and if I could afford it that is what I would do as well. The original engines sold to collectors looking for original equipment might offset a portion of the cost.

          I wouldn’t mind seeing a photo of those old work horses. 🙂

          B-12 is an excellent solvent that I have used in the gas to keep fuel systems clean, in certain automatic transmissions to remove varnish from the valve body prior to fluid and filter change (be sure to remove all old fluid including the torque converter), and in engines to remove sludge prior to oil an change. As a side benefit – in the gasoline it acts as an octane/performance booster. It is roughly $4 per can at wally world. Sea-foam works great, but the cost is much higher.

          Reply to this comment
          • Bill June 11, 01:56

            Hi dp,

            I’m pretty sure the engine is all original including the valve train. I was a certified auto mechanic and did many MANY valve jobs, so I know what you’re talking about and I agree with you completely, but like I said before, for some reason it never crossed my mind….then again I’ve been out of the wrench turning business since the mid 80’s.

            I do want to check out that B-12 product, but I’m not looking to increase octane or anything like that. Increasing the octane would only hurt the performance on most engines including these.

            You probably know and understand octane, but most people don’t. Most think it gives the fuel some sort of added power, but that’s not true at all.

            Put in the simplest terms, octane is the RESISTANCE TO BURN.

            The higher the octane, the harder it is for that fuel to be ignited and burn.

            This property now allows you build higher compression engines, and use blowers to force more of the air fuel mixture into the combustion chamber, and when you do this, the air fuel mixture can some times ignite all by itself because the more you compress it with higher compression ratios, the hotter the air fuel mixture gets.

            Now is when you need higher octane fuel to resist the possibility of the mixture igniting by itself. The octane just allows the engine to be built to produce a lot of power through mechanical means.

            If you run high octane fuel in an engine not designed for it, what happens is you have incomplete burning and it actually can hurt mileage. The catalytic converter now has to burn the raw fuel, and your engine still needs the same amount of fuel to perform at the level you’re wanting, so it uses more fuel to compensate for the raw fuel that wasn’t burned, and hurts mileage.

            If you “POWER BRAKE” your vehicle and you hear a pinging or knocking, you need a higher octane fuel, but if you don’t, and you’re running the lowest octane now, you’re good to go.

            What the ping or knock is, is the sound from two flame fronts that collide inside the combustion chamber.

            One flame front starts from the air fuel igniting itself from the heat that’s being generated and the other is when your spark plug actually ignites the mixture at the proper time. These two lames fronts burn towards each other and when they collide, you hear a knock or ping. This is VERY hard on engines and can, over time, knock holes right in a piston. I’ve seen that happen more than once.

            This is just some thing else to consider when storing fuel. Typically, higher octane or “RACING” type fuels tend to store a little better without treatments, but you must keep them in containers with ZERO light getting to them. UV light breaks down the fuel very fast and will drop octane ratings.

            Zero light and zero air or as little air as possible and fuel can store for a while with no problem. The more air you have, the more room you have for evaporation of the additives. No air means additives stay in the fuel where they belong.

            This is also why I like diesel. Diesel is a pretty forgiving fuel for longer term storage, than gasoline is.

            Reply to this comment
            • dp June 11, 07:26


              you are exactly right about octane. The B-12 does something to the fuel that increases the performance of engines that I have used it in, and for lack of a better descriptive term I just called it an octane boost.

              Higher octane can result in better performance, but only by allowing an advance in spark timing. Since many modern engines are computer controlled with knock sensors retarding the timing in some cases(ping or knock), then it is possible to see performance increases simply due to higher octane fuel.

              I am not stating that this is what is happening with B-12. There are any number of properties of the fuel that could account for the increase in performance.

              I do know that I see a measurable increase in both performance and economy out of my 4.0L V8 Lexus SC-400. This is a high performance(for it’s day), fairly high compression engine with computer engine control and knock sensors, and it requires 91 octane minimum fuel. A slight octane boost would allow the computer to run full advance on the spark timing.

              Always a pleasure to talk shop with another wrench turner… 🙂

              Reply to this comment
  18. Downwind Dave June 8, 18:57

    No one mentioned 100LL aviation fuel. It has no additives that will gum up a carburetor, stores for years, and is available at nearly every airport. It clogs up catalytic converters so is not recommended for autos. I use it in my weed-eaters, chainsaws, generators, lawnmower and ATV. The downside is that it is highly combustible and evaporates easily (keep it clear of flames and in a sealed container). The price is more than regular auto gas and different from one airport to another. And it makes for a great fuel to put in your plane to escape to safer locales.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp June 9, 03:28

      Downwind Dave, AVGAS is great stuff. We used to get it for our hot-rods in high school. Like you stated the downsides are cost, and it contains some lead that messes up catalytic systems on cars. The higher octane will allow you to advance the timing a bit more for a performance and mileage boost, as well as being less susceptible to vapor lock at higher altitudes.

      Reply to this comment
  19. Stumpy June 10, 18:14

    Why not grow your own diesel feul?

    Reply to this comment
  20. David Scott June 13, 01:38

    I didn’t see anything about AV gas. I have personally found it to last well over a year. I use it in my riding bike, mower, and weed wacker.

    Reply to this comment
  21. pastortimothy June 14, 05:24

    i have found that gasoline will store for several years if properly stored in an airtight container. to accomplish this, i use poly drums with the TFE gaskets on the bungs usually inside a metal drum for temperature stabilization. the poly drums swell and contract but no fumes escape and no air enters. the longest sample i have is for eight years.

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  22. mrbean August 21, 15:02

    harsh comments to one another are not very useful, but then I remember fighting with my brother growing up, it didn’t last long; just remember : THESE GUYS ARE YOUR BROTHERS, NEVER FORGET THAT. we will need each other, a lot, in hard times. who wants to soften up poor remarks FIRST. your brother, joe

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  23. Yosemite August 23, 23:51

    There are many different Multi Fuel vehicles out there! ESPECIALLY with the Military!

    Deuce and a Halves and FIVE TONs are multi fuel and will run on anything from Jet Fuel To Kerosene tp Gas or Diesel to Propane!
    My Grand Dad had a car would run off Propane or Gasoline.

    Most Generators one can hook up to the House can be converted to run off of Propane or even other fuel sources with proper adaption.

    I have no doubt a LOT of Military HUMMERS and K5 Blazers will also be multi fuel but that is a guess………until one can be with the actual vehicle and check for themselves. ALL Military Vehicles SHOULD be NATO SLAVE ready/capable……

    Reply to this comment
    • dp August 24, 05:52


      I drove a parts delivery vehicle decades ago that had a propane conversion cap on the carburetor and a tank in the back. It ran great on propane or gasoline. In line six, standard Chevy six banger.

      I’m sure the technology has advanced since then. with a little knowledge fuel burning engines can run on just about anything burnable…

      I got a chuckle out of your post… just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are NOT out to get you… Georgia Guide Stones. LOL

      May God Bless You, Brother. You have family out here in the stix – that have your six.

      Reply to this comment
  24. JD November 19, 00:21

    Thanks for this article. It suits my particular needs as I am just a “live for 30 days on my own, in case of hurricane/blizzard/etc” prepper, as quite frankly, I think most people are. Only the die hards are “end of the world, I need to survive forever” type preppers. I think that distinction isn’t discussed enough among the prepper community, FWIW, but it makes a difference in terms of what type of blog content appeals.

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  25. Bob August 2, 20:07

    siphoning gas from a car doesn’t work anymore. back as far as 1990 the manufacture has put a screen in the filler neck just above the tank. you can’t get a siphon hose past it.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck November 3, 03:46

      The way to handle that is to disconnect a fitting on the fuel tank or punch the tank with a brass punch. If you are “liberating” the fuel anyway, does it make a difference if you punch the tank?

      Reply to this comment
  26. Ray February 15, 18:45

    What is “white gas” ?? Is it an other name for one of the 1/2 dozen fuels listed ?? As a teen my dad would send me out to get a gal can of it and emphasize “White Gas”.

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