Kerosene and the ghost of Y2K

Well, I think I’m pretty much done on buying kerosene for the rest of my life. Last time I bought kerosene was here. That was an awesome deal.

Was tooling through Craigslist (when? When will I learn??) and, lo and behold, a fella selling 14 5-gallon drums of kero. For those of you who went to public government schools, that’s 70 gallons. Or, if you’re in a country that never put a man on the moon, 265 liters.

20170801_101755The fella was asking way, way, too much for the stuff so I made him an offer. Wound up getting it for $200…a tad under $3/gallon. (ok, fine….$2.86/gallon).

I  love kerosene…it burns hottest of the liquid fuels, keeps forever with no special treatment, is safe to store, and has a nice market of stoves, lamps, and heaters out there.

My anticipated use? Well, it’s winter for a good chunk of the year here and it would be nice to keep the house toasty in the event of a power outage. Most likely these will go into storage with the last batch of 5-gallon drums I bought. There they will wait until the day when it’s dark, cold, and dreary and I shall have light, heat, and hot food.

Here’s the interesting part… I met the guy, a rather old gentleman who, sadly, was dying of cancer, and as I was moving the cans out of his rather neat and nicely stocked garage I asked him why he had so much of it. His reply was that it was his leftover Y2K stash. Apparently he’d gone long on Y2K stuff. I suspected as much as I looked around his garage and saw the rifle cases, cases of ammo, etc, etc. All the hallmarks of someone who is on the same page. We chatted a bit about the Y2K thing and about how we’d rather have it and not need it, etc, etc. I thanked him for the deal and assured him it was going to a home that shared his concerns and mindset.

I also told him that if he had any other Y2K leftovers he wanted to sell, to please keep me in mind.

So for those of you who wonder how you meet like-minded individuals, there’s another example.

I did the math to figure out how may gallons of kerosene I have in storage and I think I may have actually gone a tad heavier than I planned. I’m going to have to contact a few of the LMI and see if they want some…I don’t think I really need more than 100 gallons for any forseeable emergency.


Gas can fillup

Im trying to fill the few empty gas cans I have before the ‘winter blend’ of gasoline hits the streets. There’s a couple gas stations around town that will, in winter, have blends that are free of the MTBE and other nonsense, but that gas is labelled as snowmobile gas or some such. Personally, I have no problem with buying untaxed gas since it’s mostly for use in my generator or other gas appliances anyway…but, you never know when that 5-gallon can is going to have to go into the truck rather than the snowblower.

Speaking of gas cans, I should probably suck it up and order another package of them from Lexington supply. Fifty bucks a throw isn’t cheap, but when you absolutely need fuel for your generator to get you and your family moved to safety in your truck…well, fifty bucks is gonna seem like a bargain.I hate the plastic gas cans, and the Chinese knock-offs (I’m looking at you, Sportsmans Guide!) are bad news. If youre going to drop a grand on a quality generator, even more money on the critical equipment to be powered by that generator, and the trouble and expense of storing all that…..why would you cheap out on gas cans when the difference is about $25~ per can? Do it right the first time, man.

I skip using the nozzles altogether on these things. For me, they just never seem to work right. I buy a handful of these funnels by Blitz, and para cord one to every other gas can. Works awesome. Dose the can with some PRI-G, fill with gas (in that the gas mixes with the PRI-G), attach a weatherproof tag with the date of fillup, and you’re good to go. The stuff will be good for the next year or two. (I generally try to rotate every year.)

What about the Scepter cans? What about ’em? I don’t trust plastic cans for stuff that can explode. I have faith in the metal ‘euro-style’ cans.

When you show me a plastic can that can handle that sort of action, then I’ll consider it. until then..I’ll pay the money for the peace of mind.

How much gas to store? Depends on what you plan on doing with it. First and foremost, to me, gas=distance. If I think that its, say, 300 miles to a rally point, safe house, friends homestead, or other safe location, then I want 600 miles worth of gas. (Yes, I want that big a margin of error.) Assuming 15 mpg, thats 40 gallons or 8 fuel cans. In a perfect world, I’d get to my safe zone with just four cans used. But the world aint perfect, it’s doubly unperfect in a disaster…which is why I want a huge margin of error for detours, idling in traffic, turnarounds, switchbacks, and out-and-out getting lost)

Same story for the generator…calculate runtime per gallon, figure what your average need will be, and then factor in a whopping margin of safety.

Anyway…today was the day to get the empty cans filled before he changeover to that enviro-friendly crap. If you live someplace where they do a similar switchover, you may want to think about getting your stuff topped off.

Propane and propane accessories

I found one of these while straightening up the other day. It’s an adapter that lets you fill the small 1# propane bottles from a larger tank. It seemed like a useful item to have since we have several devices here that run on those small bottles…most notable a small heater, a couple Coleman lanterns, and a camp stove.

Propane is great stuff, it’s just damn awkward. As someone pointed out to me, with a gas or diesel powered device I can borrow fuel from a neighbor if I have a five-gallon bucket. Borrowing propane from a neighbor is far trickier…can’t exactly tear off a piece of your 20# tank and say “Here, get it back to me when you can.”

Of course, an adapter like this lets you take your empty to your neighbors barbecue (or vice versa) and get some fuel that way.

I think that if I were going to live out in the sticks and have to have my own source of power, propane would be very attractive. The only thing I don’t like is that I’d have to have some guy drive his propane truck to my little hideaway once a year and fill the tanks. On the other hand, I suppose I could mount a tank on a small trailer, bring it into town to be filled, and then bring it back to my little hideaway and then hook it up, leaving the tank on the trailer year-round….probably violate a dozen DOT and zoing regs, but I like to think I’d be living somewhere where ‘zoning’ was a quaint notion that never really caught on locally.

Back in the Y2K runup I did wind up buying a few dozen 1# bottles of propane. I’ve probably only used one or two over the years, but as long as the bottles themselves are protected from rust and banging around they should last quite a while. It’s just another layer of redundancy…we’ve kerosene for lighting, heating, cooking in an emergency and also the option of propane for the same purposes. Add in the gas-fueled generator and we’re looking at around three different ways to skin the same cat. (And while I generally find Ragnar Benson’s books to be pretty lame, I will give him credit for bringing up “the rule of threes” in his ‘The Modern Survival Retreat‘ book.

Even though at the moment I’m living in town, I think it’d be nice to have a buried tank in the yard to run the generator and a few other goodies. Unfortunately, I doubt I can get a 500# tank past the city codes. On the other hand, a couple 100# tanks shouldn’t be a problem. (By the by, excellent graphic showing relative tank sizes.) My Honda EU2000 has some aftermarket kits to let it run propane, natural gas, or gasoline…’d be nice to have options.

Link – The Little Can That Could

Wonderful post about the history of the jerrycan.

During World War II the United States exported more tons of petroleum products than of all other war matériel combined. The mainstay of the enormous oil-and-gasoline transportation network that fed the war was the oceangoing tanker, supplemented on land by pipelines, railroad tank cars, and trucks. But for combat vehicles on the move, another link was crucial—smaller containers that could be carried and poured by hand and moved around a battle zone by trucks.

I’ve given up on anything other than the ‘NATO/Euro’ style cans for gasoline storage. They are more expensive, and sometimes hard to find, but I believe they are worth it.

Quiet weekend stuff

It’s always interesting to watch the pricing on bargains suddenly go wonky. Last week I posted about the LifeStraws being $15.99 and quite a few people (myself included) jumped in there and picked up a few. Or, in some cases, more than a few.


Why would I mention a bargain on a cool piece of gear and NOT get a bunch for myself?

Sadly, I just checked the link and they’re back up to twenty bucks each. Bummer. Gotta strike while the iron is hot.

Same story on the OD hooded space blankets. They were $10.01 for a brief time and now they’re back up to $20. Hopefully, everyone who wanted one managed to get in there and snag a couple at the $10 price.

And speaking of things to put away for that rainy day, I decided that $2.15 was as good as its gonna get, and with us being slightly ahead on the gas budget this month, so I went ahead and have the extra fuel cans filled. Those are the lovely ‘Euro/NATO-style’ cans that I got from Lexington Container a couple years back. Don’t be tempted to buy the ones you see in Sportsmans Guide and a few other places…those are the cheapo Chinese cans and they are worthless. Yes, these cans are going to be expensive at around $50 ea (plus shipping) but when it’s 2am, pouring rain, and you’re on the side of the road hoping to outrun whatever it is that’s got you running, you’ll think that fifty bucks is a bargain to have five-gallons of fuel perfectly preserved and ready to go.

20150328_184015And, of course, each one of those cans represents x amount of hours of electricity courtesy of the generator. And electricity means hot water, hot food, lighting, communications, furnace blowers, etc….in short, those cans hold civilization. (Which  sorta explains those Mad Max movies)

So, a somewhat productive last couple of days…picked up some extra water filters, filled some gas cans, did some grocery shopping. The weather has gotten nicer here so I expect I’ll be doing some spring cleaning and organizing shortly.

Article – New York City extends gas rationing; Bloomberg cites holiday travel crunch

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Gasoline rationing for drivers in New York City has been extended through Friday.

The odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchase, instituted on Nov. 9 following the aftereffects of superstorm Sandy, was scheduled to end on Monday.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Sunday he was extending the emergency order, even as the long lines at the pump have diminished. Bloomberg noted the major travel week ahead due to Thanksgiving.

“The odd-even license plate system has worked well and helped to reduce wait times and lines at the pump,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “With 30 percent of gas stations still closed and a major travel week coming, I am extending the successful odd-even system on gas and diesel fuel purchases to ensure we do not risk going back to the extreme lines we saw prior to the system being implemented.”

Nice. In the name of ‘emergency’, Bloomberg declares gas rationing to be the law of the land. And then, because of a holiday, he continues his edict. Perhaps it would have been to much for him to simply expand his odd-even license plate scheme to use of the public streets.

An excellent example of local government getting high-handed. I wonder if the folks in NYC would be as complacent if they were rationing water, or milk, or food in this manner.

An excellent reason to have your own stockpile of fuel…because even without a disaster you can wind up finding yourself facing these sorts of third-world issues.

Scenes from Brooklyn

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

How many “only use approved DOT gasoline containers for fuel transport” violations can you find in this picture?

This is why we keep over 50 gallons of treated gasoline in storage. I can either a) stay in my warm house with my hot food and consumer electronics giving me the latest news or I can b) stand in line in the snow like a Third World refugee or extra in a Mad Max movie.

Skip the plastic crap and go with metal. This guy is a straight shooter and I buy from him. Fill ‘em up, treat ‘em (PRI Fuel Stabilizer- For Gasoline 32oz), put ‘em away someplace safe and save yourself the trouble of being like the folks in this photo.

And, yes, I’m a snob….I want the Nato/Euro metal cans over the plastic cans. When life has hit the point where gasoline is so precious you’ll stand in line in sub-freezing weather to get it then life has hit the point where its worth the extra expense to preserve/protect that gasoline by using the best containers you can find.

Link – Desperate Drivers Pay The Price

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Desperate Drivers Pay The Price At NMB Gas Station

MIAMI (CBS4) — Some South Florida drivers double checked their gas bills as they pulled away from the pumps ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac and wondered why it cost so much to fill up.

It’s no surprise now to learn the State of Florida could be very busy with alleged price-gouging cases around South Florida.

Some people, it seems, never learn. If you live an area that is prone to evacuations, wouldnt it make sense to stash enough gasoline on hand to get outta town without having to stop for fuel? Heck, you could even stage fuel at points along your proposed evacuation routes. But, some folks don’t ever seem to learn.

I’m not sure how I feel about price gouging. I’m against .gov telling anyone what price they can or cannot sell a product at. If .gov could jump on a station owner for raising prices on the argument that the public has no choice about the purchasing, then couldn’t ‘gov also force the station owner to keep the station open if he decided to just close shop entirely for the emergency?

This sort of thing is why we keep stored (and stabilized) fuel on hand. To my way of thinking, MPG x gallons stored / 2 = effective range. So, if we have 60 gallons on hand, and the truck gets 15 mpg, thats 900 miles, right? Wrong. I figure a 50% penalty ‘just in case’ for things like detours, backtracking, stop-n-go, idling in traffic, etc, etc. So, to my way of thinking, that’s really a 450-mile range.

Truly, I am amazed that people who would live in a region where an evacuation due to hurricane is likely would not have supplies and fuel in place for this sort of thing.