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Extracting gasoline from underground tanks at gas stations as shtf fuel source

Extracting gasoline from underground tanks at gas stations as shtf fuel source

SBR_AK_is_best_AK

Most stations do not have locks or impediments to accessing the caps if they know a delivery is coming that day. And most high volume stations get daily deliveries. At night they can put padlocks on them, but don't count on it. There is a metal cap that you see. Red is premium, white is low grade, yellow is diesel, there are various other colors but thats the basic. Oh and U on yellow mean ultra low sulfur. Orange is vapor recovery. That cap can have several ways to open, but most common now is just a lever. Some do require tools but I haven't noticed one in years. Under that metal cap you can drive over is another cap that is the vapor barrier to the tank. Again no tool needed may have padlock, may just be a lever. Once the 2 caps are off its a pipe into the tank. Buy a 12v frame rail mounted fuel pump from an older car and hook a 12v battery and hoses to it. wiiiiirrrrrr goes the pump out comes the gas.


BorisMustWin

Would a water pump or sump pump work?


SBR_AK_is_best_AK

Sump pump wouldn't fit in the pipe. I don't know the risks of using a water pump.


BorisMustWin

I imagine a pump on ground level with a hose going down to the tank? Never done anything like that though and you sound like you have experience.


SBR_AK_is_best_AK

Yes, hose into tank, pump on ground, hose to receptacle you want to put the gas in. The 12v frame mounted fuel pumps are inline pumps not immersion pumps.


Many-Sherbert

Depends on the pump and how deep the hole is. It would have to have enough lift head to be able to bring a liquid up the hole.


toastedcheesybread

A water pump would probably work once. Then the seals go bad after it dries out


SBR_AK_is_best_AK

My assumption as well. But not going to give advice with shit that lights on fire easy.


ktoap7

That was my first thought about an electric pump. Any of those fumes catch off the electric pump somehow, your potentially sitting on top of a 40,000 gal capacity bomb. Very least (if it ignited) would be massive flames with you near by. Think I’d be hand pumping


Federal_Refrigerator

Water pumps use the water to cool the pump. Easy bomb I suppose?


RVP2019

Don't forget the grounding clamp. And that 12v battery connection had better be well back from any fumes.


AJStickboy

What about grounding? Is there a risk of spark from the friction of the fuel moving through the pump?


ArcticYT99

I am savijg this post for later as I am now curious too


Doug_Shoe

Suck out the gas with a 12v universal fuel pump made for cars. One hose into the tank and another into your gas can. Get a large funnel. - the kind used to add transmission fluid. Note that a coffee filter fits well into the top of the funnel. Use this to add gas to your vehicle, generator, etc. What gets through the coffee filter will be stopped by the car's fuel filter. When I was poor, I would take "bad" gas from auto shops that wanted to get rid of it. Never had a problem. But I had old junkers. I wasn't worried about a hiccup or a little loss of performance in my Vette. No gas doesn't go bad in months.


sissychomp69

NON-ETHANOL gas can last a couple of years. The E10 gas that's pretty much universal these days turns into varnish within 6 months.


Doug_Shoe

I live in New Hampshire near the Maine border. There is ethanol in the gas here. You know what? You are absolutely right. Gas after a few months is complete junk. You don't want it. If there is ever some disaster, and no gas is available at the pump, you can give all of the old gas to me.


Federal_Refrigerator

But in about a year or so it's certainly degraded heavily. I don't think I expect to find any good gas T+1Y. Batteries? T+2Y for lithium ion and other high capacity batteries, excluding AA, AAA, etc. common types as they have huge shelf lives.


Doug_Shoe

That's what everyone says on the internet. I have put gas (older than that) in cars, truck, motorcycles and driven around with no problems. If others can't then perhaps my vehicles are magic.


Federal_Refrigerator

Drive, yes. Screw up your mechanical engine parts over time? Also yes. It's not magic, it's maybe-itll-run.


agent_flounder

>Drive, yes. Screw up your mechanical engine parts over time? Which parts, exactly? What's the mechanism behind it?


Federal_Refrigerator

As I mentioned you'll find your cylinders get gummed up, you can get some misfires, also having debris settle to the bottom isnt particularly kind to your fuel filter. In a SHTF situation, strain the gas and use it, what else are you going to do, but I'm shocked anyone is using old gas like that right now and *choosing* to wear their engine at an accelerated rate. Mechanism for the gumming has to do with ethanol and the fact the petrol will evaporate faster causing it to be a higher concentration.


agent_flounder

Thanks, great info!


Doug_Shoe

Have you tried to do it?


Federal_Refrigerator

No, I take care of my vehicles. Are your personal experiences now fact? Is your opinion now valid because you hit me with the "I've done it you haven't"? Nah, go ahead and turn your cylinders into jelly jars, I really don't mind since my car will run fine regardless of what you do to yours. Don't even know why you'd be running 1Y+ old gas in your vehicles to begin with but, hey, that's your problem.


Doug_Shoe

poor people have actually experienced a lot of the disaster you are prepping for. The internet is a wonderful source of information. You can search for any topic, and info pops right up. Occasionally the info is even true. My experience has value for me. I know that if gas is scarce or gone, I can potentially use old gas that no one wants. They think it turns their cylinders into jelly jars. I know it's not true.


botanicalfox

Not sure why this is even being debated! Bottom line if it's old bad gas or no gas at all why wouldn't you try anyway and use precautions, such as filtering, like you said? If it's going to be my last fillup I don't care about longevity of my vehicle.


Federal_Refrigerator

I'm talking current times, SHTF and drive it dill it dies, grab a new one is where we'd be.


OperationMobocracy

I have owned a motorcycle and two boats that sit all winter (6-8 months) with gas in their tanks with nothing more than Stabil poured into the tanks. I have never had a fuel problem with any of those vehicles in the spring. Same with my lawn mower and my snowblower (which is 20 years old). I mean, is Stabil magic or have I been just super lucky?


Doug_Shoe

The problems people claim here for old gas (3-6 mo) are exaggerated.


Federal_Refrigerator

3-6mo is acceptable, especially to 2 cycle engines, however when you're working with engines that are a bitch to clean and rebuild you try to take care of them.


Federal_Refrigerator

I truthfully apologize, I wasn't aware that was the reason. If the SHTF it doesn't matter, but keep your vehicles maintained to the best of your ability before that to ensure longevity is all. Do what you want, it doesn't matter much to me in the end here, just wanted to inform.


Doug_Shoe

Thank you so much. It's no problem at all. I think I was being too sensitive You are a good person.


Doug_Shoe

I have to apologize, too. When I was being too sensitive, I thought you were doing something, but you weren't. It was accidental. So I edited my comment to remove that, and I'm sorry I wrote it.


Blueporch

Read Stephen King's book The Stand - the characters get gas from the tanks two different ways, one of which was described as safer


ravenchorus

Care to share these two ways with us so we don’t have to read though 1,100+ pages looking for it?


Blueporch

I remember that kid travelling with Fran pried up some kind of heavy metal cover that sounded similar to a manhole cover and nearly lost his fingers. I think it was Stu that had a better way to access it, but I can't remember what it was - sorry!


CatLadyGrip

You're thinking of Larry and Nadine when they were following Harold's signs to the town in Vermont where the CDC facility was that Stu escaped from. Larry was trying to get the gas out of the tank in one spot that was under a heavy metal cover and Joe/Leo was helping to pry it up for him. Eventually when Larry and Harold meet, Harold tells Larry he siphoned the fuel out through a "plug vent".


Blueporch

Thank you!


Spindrift11

I would prefer to mess around with diesel instead of gasoline. Opening the hatch and then inserting your hose can very easily create a static spark. Make sure you understand proper grounding procedures and also understand how charges can build up while pumping fluids. From personal experience diesel often doesn't light up from sparks but gas definitely will.


therealtimwarren

Yep, much safer. You can take a lit match to diesel and it won't light. In fact it will extinguish the match. Diesel needs to be hot to ignite.


Spindrift11

>You can take a lit match to diesel Don't always count on that lol. But yes, given the right conditions I've definitely snuffed a match in diesel before.


Flux_State

At Chevron, 600 gallons was the lowest it would go and nothing was locked. Use your hand or a crow bar to move the lid, then reach in an pop the cap off. Straight shot down.


VisualEyez33

If things are this bad, wouldn't gas stations have sold all their gas long before they're so pitifully guarded that anyone could come along and take what remains?


ZionBane

Just so that I have said this, that gas is not used because it contains contaminates, often things water and rust, that will quite literally destroy, upon first use, any engine they get put into. This is also why many people do not buy gas a stations that are getting filled, because filling the tank churns up those contaminates and can lead to a rough ride and even clogging the fuel lines. With that said, while I have no idea what the official tool the technicians use to siphon it out for cleaning, I would they use a standard pumper truck of some sort, if you were to do it yourself, I would suggest just a really strong shop vac, but, if you die following my advice, I want to make it clear that this is just a random ass guess I am pulling clean out of my ass, I have no idea what I am doing, and not responsible for any injuries you incur following my unprofessional advice on this.. but if it works, and we are all Mad Max in the wastelands.. I get at least 10% of the haul for giving you this idea.


preemptivelyprepared

Gasoline is easily filtered. Almost everything precipitates out very quickly. Yes, I'd avoid getting gas immediately after a fuel tanker fills the tank but it's not that big of a deal. Do not use a vacuum with combustible or flammable anything. The motor literally generates sparks as the brushes slide around the commutator. Most cheap pumps can not generate enough vacuum to prime themselves much past 6'. Most car fuel pumps struggle past 3'. Most fuel tanks are 12'+ in diameter and buried a few more feet.


RVP2019

> I would suggest just a really strong shop vac... Only if you're trying to chlorinate the gene pool. Shop vac go BOOM.


ZionBane

Hence why I put my warning up.


Atomsq

Just get the gas to a container, then use one of [these](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N4UN1W2/ref=cm_sw_r_awdo_navT_g_YCV4TFNEGTSWZW2M232T) when dumping the contents into whatever you need it for


touchthebush

The difficulty would be the pumping, those tanks are really dangerous from the fumes so going into one without the correct breathing equipment would be a one way trip. If you could get a long enough hoses and a pump I guess it could be viable, bit the fuel like you said could be tainted and break the vehicle you are in.


HeliMD205

You don't need to go into the tank you just need the hose or stand pipe from you pump to go into the tank.


RVP2019

The well to the tank is like 6" wide. You're not going "into the tank".


Jatorade213

You may not want the bottom of the tank. I used to work for a company cleaning them out. We would use lifts and straps to flip them upside down and you would not believe how much junk and gunk is at the bottom. All the pumps installed would not reach the bottom. For good reason too. We would leave the suction pipes about a foot off the bottom so they wouldn’t catch that bottom settlement. In a pinch you may need to try it, but I’d imagine that fuel would do so much more damage over time even if you had a filter system to get the junk out of it.


silveroranges

As far as a pump, where I work we pump oil and solvents using an air diaphragm pump. https://www.grainger.com/product/ARO-Double-Diaphragm-Pump-2P598 Since it uses compressed air, it has no sparks, and can self prime to 15ft. Just hook an aircompressor and tank up to it and you can pump a pretty good volume safely. It also pumps small solids and particulates easily.


davidm2232

It seems everyone is overthinking this. Just hook a 220v generator up to the station. Should run the pumps as they normally would.


bluefiretoast

Gas is only "good" for 3-6 months, so this isn't a long-term solution. Are you thinking of this being useful in evacuations maybe?


jaybrow1414

I’m amazed how often I hear this and yet I have machines that have 1-2 year old gas in them that start and run just fine


AccomplishedInAge

I’m amazed at how many farmers must have to buy brand new tractors every spring after using fuel that has set unused and didn’t have stabilizer poured into the storage tanks and tractors themselves…… especially back in them olden days a few decades ago … lol


HeliMD205

Older gas didn't have ethanol in it. Ethanol attracts moisture . If you are prepping and buy gas make sure you buy premium with no ethanol in it and add fuel stabilizer it will last much longer. Also most tractors are diesel and it lasts a lot longer than gas.


AccomplishedInAge

it’s commonly referred to as “clear“ as in NO ETHANOL for gas and for diesel “clear” means NO BIODIESEL…. So for longer term get non ethanol and non biodiesel


EverGoodHunterMe

Clear diesel means not dyed.


AccomplishedInAge

“Red” or “farm” diesel is dyed….. “clear” is no bio … at least with the petroleum company I worked for that is how we were invoiced it at the racks


preemptivelyprepared

Just put some gasoline in my truck from a plastic gas can labeled May 2019.


ZionBane

I ate a Twinkie that expired in 2019, wasn't bad, little bland, and didn't kill me, doesn't mean we should all go around chowing down on expired Twinkies.


ktoap7

How many zombies did you kill in your quest for the Twinkie? You’re from Tallahassee right?


ZionBane

LOL. Zombieland.. now that was some funny!


preemptivelyprepared

What did you do before expiration dates and "best by" dates? Same as Twinkies, it's the interaction with the atmosphere that makes gasoline go bad fast.


ZionBane

The grim answer to that, we ate contaminated and spoiled food, got sick and died, and in no small sense of irony, when we put expired & contaminated gasoline into engines it can damage and even destroy the engine. But much like I would not tell you what you can and cannot eat, as that is your personal health, I will not tell you what to put in your engine.. you do you.


preemptivelyprepared

So what you're saying is that if you improperly handle and store your food, you could get sick and die? What happens when you do store and handle the food properly, does it immediately go bad like a ticking time bomb when the date comes by? ​ Gasoline is made of chemicals. It largely does nothing when it is properly stored (temperature stable, non-permeable container, no light, not vented to the atmosphere). It is not a magical concoction of miracles. Well, winter gas is, but mostly because it has more butane in it that boils off real easy. There is a large amount of xylene in it. Also not magical. ​ Leaving gasoline sitting out in a waste oil pan for a month would be like leaving potato salad out basking in the hot California sun for a day. Not really worth rolling the dice in either case. Keep either where you're supposed to... it's amazing how long they last.


ZionBane

>So what you're saying is that if you improperly handle and store your food, you could get sick and die? That is not what I said at all.


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ZionBane

I said, without known expiration dates, or knowing how long food can safely last, we ate spoiled and contaminated foods and died. I am not sure what you are trying to do here, but knock it off, if you prep food at all, you already know that many foods have a limited amount of time they can be stored, as food naturally breaks down, case in point, even if someone did a prefect canning job to some pears, and stored them in a ideal root cellar, that just slows down the break down, it does not magically stop it, so the pears will eventually spoil. This is what expiration dates are all about. Knowing how long that will take. The same holds true for gasoline, it naturally breaks down, even in an air tight container in a cool room, it will break down all on it's own, just like those pears will, the lower octane and higher the ethanol, the faster this process happens.


SysAdmin907

"The Last Chase" movie has entered the discussion.. ;)


monkeywelder

Build a 12v fuel polishing system. 12v fuel pump with an intake and output filter.. They would also be good as fuel sources get older as it removes particulate from the fuel during transfer. They can also be used to clean fuel in the same tank. Plans are all over in boating communities. OR you can buy them premade for a price. Though mostly used for cleaning diesel they can be used for normal gas.