Proper fuel storage is a proactive method to preserve fuel quality and improve its efficiency. It’s also an excellent tip to reduce fuel contamination.  

Besides, storing your fuel the right way minimizes accidental spills. This provides the peace of mind of knowing that you have enough fuel to go around, even during emergencies.  

Fortunately, there are numerous actionable tips you can implement to store fuel in a jerry can properly. This article looks at five such interventions.  

Plastic jerrycans on white background 

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1. Choose the Right Can Size 

Jerry cans come in different shapes and sizes. Picking the right container size depends on the amount of fuel you intend for it to hold.  

Larger cans are better suited for carrying higher fuel volumes and vice versa. However, this rule doesn’t apply across the board.  

Experts generally recommend choosing jerry cans with a fuel capacity of no more than 5 gallons (19 liters). That’s because the fire codes in most jurisdictions specify that portable gasoline containers should have a maximum holding capacity of 5 gallons.  

Expectedly, fire codes vary from one location to another. So, be sure to establish what your local regulations stipulate before choosing the right jerry can size.  

Note that a jerry can’s maximum fuel holding capacity may vary further depending on whether it’s a plastic or metallic container.  

Once you’ve determined the specific jerry can size to purchase, you can look it up on a reputable seller. Such a seller offers a high-quality jerry can at affordable prices in different shapes and sizes. They also stock related accessories, such as jerry can seals, jerry can straps, jerry can spouts, etc. 


2. Pick Between Metal and Plastic Cans 

The steel used to be the primary metal that jerry cans were originally made of. However, manufacturers, today experiment with a variety of other metals. In fact, a decent percentage of jerry cans in the market are currently made of plastic.  

Both metal and plastic have pros and cons when choosing the best jerry can material.  

Metal containers are more durable than their plastic counterparts. They’re also stronger and can resist a considerable amount of mechanical pressure.  

However, metal can rust over time. The corrosion molecules emitted might contaminate your fuel, reducing its efficiency.  

The biggest advantage of plastic jerry cans is their relative affordability compared to metallic cans. Plastic containers are also resistant to corrosion.  

However, plastic erodes faster than metal.  

If you must choose plastic jerry cans, avoid those made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), as this material is easily broken down by both gasoline and diesel. Instead, insist on cans made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE).  

HDPE is highly resistant to leaking and cracking. That makes it an excellent choice for storing fuel in airtight containers. 

New green iron gas can in the hardware store. Fuel Tank for Transporting and Storing Petrol, Vintage 20L Fuel Can Jerrycan 

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3. Match Each Jerry Can with the Correct Fuel Type 

The first things that come to mind when we think of fuels are gasoline and diesel. However, there are many other fuel types, including kerosene.  

Most gasoline jerry cans are red, while diesel cans are yellow. Kerosene containers are typically available in blue containers, although this may vary from one jurisdiction to another.  

All three fuel types come from crude oil. They only differ in their volatility. So, chemically speaking, there’s no major cause for alarm if you accidentally pour gas into a diesel jerry can.  

However, refueling a gasoline engine with diesel or kerosene is a terrible idea 

Since diesel and kerosene are less refined, they require higher temperatures to vaporize. The two fuels can put an undue strain on gasoline engines, potentially leading to irreparable damage.  

The consequences of mixing up different fuel types can be even more devastating if you say, mistakenly attempt to start a fire using gasoline instead of kerosene. The resultant explosion can lead to severe burns and damage to adjacent property, even if only a small amount of gas is involved. 

Green jerry can close-up on blurred background of black car 

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4. Store Fuel in a Cool, Dry, and Dark Place 

Most crude oil products degrade if exposed to heat and light for too long. That explains the rationale behind storing your fuel in a cool, dry, and dark place. While both heat and light can have an adverse effect on crude oil products, the mechanism of degradation varies depending on the specific environmental agent at play.  

Too much exposure to heat generally raises the evaporation rate. A higher evaporation rate means more fuel is lost to the immediate environment, reducing its overall efficiency.  

On the other hand, light causes a molecule breakdown in fuels with heavier hydrocarbons. This might also have far-reaching implications in terms of diminishing fuel economy and efficiency. 

But perhaps the biggest problem with fuel degradation is that it can impact your engine or equipment performance negatively. Besides, fuels exposed to the elements too long tend to lose their octane ratings.  

It’s also worth noting that high volatile fuels like gas may evaporate upon exposure to air. Therefore, remember to store such fuels in airtight containers too.  

Interestingly, hot weather is known to increase fuel economy. That’s because the engine warms up to the ideal temperature faster. Just remember that this makes more sense when the fuel is already in the engine system and not directly exposed to the elements. 


5. Consider the Location of Use 

Fuel jerry cans can also vary depending on their intended locations of use.  

Standard plastic jerry cans are ideal for basic residential use, such as refilling the home generator or lawnmower.  

Jerry cans intended for basic residential use are widely available in home and automotive supply stores. These containers have been designed to meet several safety and quality standards. For instance, the cans are leak-proof, child-resistant, and meet general safety standards for home use.  

If you’re looking for the best jerry can for storing fuel at work, your best bet would be to opt for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved safety containers. These cans meet even more stringent quality and safety standards than those designed for residential use.  

For instance, OSHA-approved containers typically feature a built-in flash-arresting screen, a spring-closing lid, and a spout cover. The cans should also be able to handle internal pressure safely upon exposure to heat or fire. Most importantly, they must come with proof of testing and/or approval by third-party laboratories or federal agencies.  

Lastly, consider UN/DOT-approved jerry cans if intending to use them in commercial automobiles. 

Fuel canister in the hands of a man standing with his back to us. Fuel reserve in jerrycan. Lack of petrol or diesel at gas stations concept. 

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Storing fuel the right way is an intelligent way to boost its efficiency and economy. We hope you can follow these tips to ensure proper fuel storage at all times. Remember, always choose the quality jerry can so that you can easily store the fuel for a long journey