Choosing Fuel Handling Equipment
A task that’s seemingly mundane – getting gas – can quickly become a nightmare if you don’t have the right equipment. Whether you’re just transporting gas for your string trimmer or storing many gallons of fuel for your home’s generator and farming equipment, using high-quality fuel handling systems is crucial. With so many options available, it’s important to select equipment that’s easy to fill and pour while also being as safe and durable as possible.
Types of Fuel Handling Systems
Fuel cans are the standard way to transport small amounts of gas. They’re usually made of plastic or metal and have screw-on caps or nozzles that come off to fill the can. Most fuel cans can hold 1-5 gallons of gas or diesel.
Fuel caddies or carts use handles and wheels to safely and ergonomically transport medium to large amounts of fuel. They come on either two or four wheels, depending on size. Different models use various pump styles, including standard gravity-flow or two-way rotary for dispensing/siphoning when gravity isn’t an option. Fuel caddies are great for holding gas during equipment repairs: just transfer the fuel from the tank, store it in the caddy, and then refill the tank after the repair is complete.
Fuel tanks or stations are designed for transporting and storing large amounts of fuel. Most stand on short legs so they can be easily lifted. Some use gravity-fed dispense systems while others pump after being connected to a power source. Fuel tanks can hold upwards of 100+ gallons of diesel.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Fuel Equipment
Purpose: What do you need to use the gas for? If you’re only going to fill your leaf blower a few times every fall, you probably don’t need anything more than a small gas can. But storing enough fuel for a household’s generator is a different story and you’ll need to plan accordingly for transporting large amounts.
If you’ll be storing both gas and diesel, be sure to dedicate specific containers to each to avoid contamination and risk of fire. Usually a red can/caddy is for gas and yellow is for diesel.
Size: The most compact and manageable option is a 1-gallon can, which is light enough to be stored on a garage shelf. Most suburban homeowners can manage with a 2.5-gallon can or caddy. This is the ideal size for weekly lawn mowing, trimming, and chainsaw activities for up to a couple months without refilling. Upgrade to a 5-gallon can or caddy if you’ll be storing fuel for a generator, camper, or other activity. Any additional needs can be supported with larger stations and tanks.
Always keep in mind the recommended time limits on fuel storage when selecting a container size. Gas shouldn’t be stored for longer than 3-6 months, with diesel lasting a bit longer at 6-12 months. There are additional products, such as STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer, that can increase the shelf life to up to 2 years.
Material: Storing fuel can be hazardous, so the material and durability of the system needs to be taken seriously. Plastic gas cans and caddies are lightweight and inexpensive, making them ideal for most residential needs. But they are more likely to break down over the years than metal options, especially stainless steel. It’s generally better to go with plastic equipment if you’ll be primarily transporting fuel and metal equipment if you’ll be storing it for extended periods.
Safety: Many types of fuel handling systems come with extra features to improve their safety. Spring-loaded lids and valves help seal gas tanks from leaking, even when splashing around on bumpy roads. Flame arresters prevent ignition sources from accessing the gasoline vapors. Valve locks block handlers from accidentally opening the valve when handling a can or caddy. There are lots of safety measures to look for!
Pour method: Storing gas is only half the battle – you also need to be able to pour it. Many fuel containers have on-board spouts or nozzles that make it easy to fill the mower, generator, or ATV. Models with valves enable you to adjust the pour angle without risk of spilling. If you’ll be using the stored gas on a regular basis, be sure it can be poured in an easy and clean way.