Diesel Fuel Storage: How Long Can Diesel Last & How To Store It

Diesel can be a very important fuel if you’re homesteading or prepping for an emergency situation. Survivalists and preppers have relied on diesel for a variety of uses for many years. It’s essential that you know how to properly store diesel so that you have access to a ready to go, high quality fuel in an emergency situation. 

You’ll want to know the right way to store diesel and to figure out whether it’s the right fuel for you to store long term. The worst case scenario for preppers or those living off grid is to store diesel incorrectly and mistakenly cause damage to your vehicle or equipment. 

We’ve extensively searched for the top ways to store your diesel fuel. We want to make sure you know how to ensure that the diesel you have is safe to use whenever you need it most. 

How Long Does Diesel Fuel Last?

Diesel fuel usually lasts around 6-12 months. It can be used after this time, especially if it has been kept in favorable conditions, however its quality will have started to decline. 

How Long Will Diesel Fuel Store In A Tank?

When kept in a tank, diesel fuel generally lasts for between 6 and 12 months. After this time it can start to change in its consistency which can cause problems for a car’s engine and damage the filters. 

What Containers Should You Use For Diesel Fuel?

The best containers to store your diesel fuel will depend on the volume of diesel that you need. 

For smaller amounts, you can use cheap and portable 5 gallon cans which are easy to take to the gas station to refill. 

This bright yellow 5 Gallon Capacity option is easy to identify quickly when you’re searching for it in your car or garage. It is made from durable HDPE so it is hard wearing, waterproof and can be kept outside in extreme weather conditions. This container has 2 handles to ensure easy handling when you’re in tight spaces or pouring at difficult angles. 

If you need larger volumes of diesel you can consider more specialized storage containers such as stand alone tanks or larger containers with fuel nozzles attached. 

This red 35 Gallon tank holds enough fuel for multiple vehicles or equipment such as lawn mowers or power tools. An 8 feet long hose allows you to easily dispense or remove the fuel which helps to prevent spillage of diesel and save you money. The tank is made of solid steel so it’s durable and long lasting. 

For maximum storage capacity, this 58 Gallon portable diesel container comes with an electric pump. It also has an automatic fuel nozzle for ultimate ease of access and there’s a DC fuel transfer pump which can be connected to either 12 or 24V power. This diesel storage option also comes with 13 feet of antistatic rubber hose included. 

Midwest Can 8610 Diesel Can

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Parts-Diyer 30 Gallon

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Emiliana Serbatoi Carrytank 58 Gallon

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Can You Store Diesel Fuel In A Barrel?

For larger quantities of diesel, you’ll want to store it in a metal drum or stand alone tank. 

Smaller quantities of diesel fuel can be stored in plastic barrels. As with any storage option for diesel, a barrel isn’t suitable long term.

If the barrel is made from plastic (including HDPE models) the diesel will react with the plastic polymers and the plastic will break down. This will eventually cause leakages. 

How Long Does Diesel Last With A Stabilizer?

Adding a stabilizer to your diesel fuel can be beneficial and there are lots of products out there which can be used to treat diesel and to make it last longer. 

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Make sure you follow the instructions carefully with any stabilizer product. It will generally advise you how many oz are required per gallon of fuel. 

Even with a stabilizer, diesel will not keep fresh for more than 12 months. 

What Is The Best Way To Store Your Diesel Fuel At Home For Longevity?

There are a number of factors that can help to keep diesel fuel fresh when you’re storing it at home. For the maximum longevity you need to make sure: 

  • Diesel is kept cool at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Diesel should never be stored above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

In order to keep the diesel tank as cool as can be you could consider storing it underground, out of direct sunlight or by creating shade over the top of it. 

  • Diesel is treated with biocides and stabilizers. These can help to prevent chemical breakdown and maintain the quality of the fuel. Make sure you use diesel specific products 
  • Always make sure that your storage containers or tanks are emptied out and cleaned thoroughly after each use. 
  • Monitor your diesel storage tank or container for water build up. Condensation causes water to accumulate and drip onto the diesel. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow – which then acts as a catalyst for the breakdown of the diesel fuel. If you are worried about water build up you can also use biocide additives. 

Is It Safe To Store & Use Diesel Fuel?

Yes, as long as you take precautions you can store diesel fuel safely in your home. 

You need to make sure that diesel is stored in a cool and dry place. It should always be kept out of direct sunlight and away from any form of naked flame. 

Diesel fuel can be fatal if ingested so it must always be kept out of reach of young children. You should also consider keeping a padlock on your diesel fuel container to add an extra level of safety and prevent anyone else from opening it. 

Threats From Contamination

It’s really important to treat diesel carefully and to store it properly in order to avoid contamination. 

Diesel can pose a threat to health and exposure can cause skin issues such as dermatitis as well as respiratory issues such as pulmonary edema. If it is ingested, it’s essential that you call 911 immediately as this can cause aspiration and severe gastrointestinal disturbances. 

For vehicles, contamination of diesel can be extremely damaging. If contaminated fuel is used to power your vehicle, you can encounter serious problems which could be life threatening. 

Contaminated diesel means that sludge restricts the fuel flow to the engine. This can cause issues such as power loss, involuntary changes in speed and spluttering. These issues are especially dangerous if you are traveling at high speed. 


If you’re in an emergency situation, you need to be confident that you have the fuel you’ll need to provide power for you and your loved ones. 

Knowing how to store diesel safely and securely will allow you and your family to access it when you need it most. Take the time to learn how to avoid contaminating your diesel supplies today and you won’t be left without it in a disaster situation.

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