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How Much Emergency Gasoline Do You Really Need?

In an emergency, one of the first resources to go will be gasoline. Here’s how much you REALLY need when SHTF.

In an SHTF scenario, one of the first resources to go will be gasoline. But how much emergency gasoline do you really need?

It begins with how much gas you use…and we Americans tend to use A LOT—over 374 million gallons a year, to be exact. That’s roughly 1.5 gallons per adult, per day.

If the power goes out, gas pumps shut down, and we know what happens then: long lines and shortages. The best thing you can do to save yourself pain and suffering is to plan out how much gasoline you need and safely store it for future use.

Gas Is Just One Piece of Your Prep Puzzle

But storing large amounts of gas is very difficult. Because of that, our first piece of advice is to make sure gas is only a portion of your fuel needs. Consider stocking prep supplies that run on propane, solar, and even fire as fuel.

For more information on solar generators, check out our article “Sound Decisions – Solar Vs. Fuel Generators.”

How to Store Gasoline

Gas is highly flammable so make sure you store it safely. Never store gasoline in your home, in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. Always store gas in an approved container and follow safety guidelines.

Following safe storage practices will decrease the likelihood of fire. Your local government may have restrictions on how many gallons of gasoline you are permitted to store.

Click here for more on how to safely store fuel.

Now that we have some basic safety practices out of the way, here are some tips to calculate how much gasoline you will need if SHTF.

How Much Emergency Gasoline Do You Really Need? Start by Calculating Vehicle Fuel.

Let’s use some generic numbers and assume your vehicle gets 15 miles to the gallon and holds 15 gallons of gas. That will give you a range of 225 miles per tank.

These numbers will differ depending on your vehicle and its fuel economy. But we are going to stick with these to make the math easy.

It is important that your bug-out location is not further than one tank of gas away from your starting location, as refueling can be difficult (if not impossible) in a SHTF situation.

Let’s say in this case you need to travel 200 miles, one way, to reach your bug-out location. To get there and back (400 miles) with a little extra to spare you need 30 gallons. Remember, if you always keep your tank at least partially full you do not need 30 gallons stored outside your vehicle. If you leave with a full tank, you will only need an additional 15 gallons stored.

Calculate Generator Fuel

Most people use an inverter generator for a bug-out/SHTF situation. These generators tend to be more mobile and quieter. There are a lot of variables when it comes to generators and efficiency, but it is safe to say most inverted generators have roughly one gallon capacity.

Depending on the load, they can run between three and eight hours on that gallon. For the sake of the example, let’s say you run your generator between four and six hours a day and use 1.25 gallons a day. For 30 days you would need 37.5 gallons.

Total Fuel Calculations and Tips

For those keeping track, that brings your total gasoline needs to 67.5 gallons.

Now don’t panic if that seems like a very big number. Keep in mind that you need an assessment of the activities you will be using your fuel for. If you don’t need to drive to your bug-out location, you’ve saved a lot of fuel. If the weather is fair and you don’t need a heater or fan, you’ve saved even more fuel.

Take this article not as a set of rules, but as an eye opener to reassess your gasoline needs and figure out where you should seek out alternative fuel sources.

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