5 Tips for Safely Storing Gasoline and Diesel Fuel


Fuels like gasoline and diesel are necessary for powering a variety of heavy-duty equipment as well as Vehicles and Power Generators. Extra fuel on hand can help ensure preparation for emergencies like severe weather events.
When storing extra fuel on-site, it is important to take the necessary precautions


1. Check Local, State Regulations, and Fire Codes

If you’re considering storing extra gas or diesel fuel, the first step is to check your local regulations to confirm storage quantity and capacity allowances. The National Fire Protection Association NFPA 30 classifies gasoline as a Class 1 flammable liquid and common diesel fuel as a Class 2 flammable liquid. Although the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Fire Code (IFC) have developed safeguards for the safe storage and use of flammables, these guidelines are not mandatory unless a federal, state or local authority chooses to adopt them. However, mandatory regulations have been developed by OSHA. For specific storage requirements and guidelines on the safe storage and use of flammable and combustible liquids, refer to OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.106 and 29 CFR 1926.152.


2. Use Approved Containers

According to OSHA, fuel should only be stored in portable tanks, approved safety cans or containers approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT), Factory Mutual (FM) or Underwriter Laboratory (UL).  Approved fuel containers typically feature a label or wording stating it meets the DOT or other safety standard specifications and include various safety features like automatic pressure vents, flash arrestor screens, tight-fitting lids and a sturdy base. Fuel containers are also often color-coded according to the type of fuel they are designed to hold:

  • RED: Gasoline
  • YELLOW: Diesel
  • BLUE: Kerosene
  • GREEN: Oil

3. Take Care when Filling the Fuel Container

As you fill a fuel container, keep your face away from the nozzle and avoid possible ignition sources like heat, electricity or sparks by at least 50 feet. To allow room for expansion, the American Petroleum Institute recommends not filling the container more than 95 percent full. Tightly close and seal the container, then mark the fill date to ensure you use the fuel before it expires.


4. Add Fuel Stabilizer As Necessary

Fuel stabilizers help prevent compounds and microbial growth from forming on the gas. If you aren’t using the fuel within 30 days, make sure to place the required amount of stabilizer in the gas can, then add fresh fuel and seal the cap. Fuel additives can help keep fuel stable for up to two years of storage.


5. Store in a Safe Place

Gasoline and diesel fuel should be stored at room temperature and away from heat sources like direct sunlight, furnaces, water heaters and space heaters. Since gas vapors are heavier than air, they can accumulate at floor level. Therefore, fuel containers should always be stored at least 50 feet away from possible ignition sources. Fuel should be stored away from the building and occupants, ideally in a garage or shed. Never smoke where gasoline is handled or stored.


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