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All preppers know the importance of resources, and it’s one of the things that define the prepper mindset.
Survivalists and bushcrafters often have very valuable and useful skills that can help in an SHTF scenario, but it’s the reserve and particular skill set of the prepper to be able to combine these skills with a mind for resource management, preservation and opportunism, which can make all the difference in a dire scenario.
One of the most important, common, and valuable resources in the modern world is fuel, and while there are more electric vehicles on the road than ever and there is continual pressure to become more sustainable and use alternative fuel sources, gas and fossil fuels remain the dominant method of powering our cars, generators and other essential energy sources.
Siphon Gas From Car
In normal day-to-day society, this isn’t a huge problem, at least from a logistical point of view.
You’re never more than a few miles away from a gas station, and you can always call a friend to bail you out or even call for roadside assistance should you run the tank dry.
In short, while fuel can get pretty expensive depending on global factors, it’s pretty much readily available and isn’t that hard to come by, even in the most remote areas of the US and other areas of the modern world.
When all of these systems are running as intended, this works out pretty conveniently for everyone, but should the paradigm shift even a little, things can fall apart very quickly, leaving people desperate, stranded and suddenly vying for a very limited supply of a finite resource.
Should global supply chains fail, societal collapse or any other SHTF scenario occur, fuel supplies will undoubtedly be hit and likely become choked off entirely, meaning whatever gas you have in the tank or can store safely is all you’ve got, feasibly forever.
Gas doesn’t even store particularly well, and believe it or not gas has an expiration date, so even fuel that you store is eventually going to become useless, meaning no matter how well you prepare on this front, cars, and generators will eventually become useless, unless alternative energy sources/fuels can be created.
How To Syphon Gas From A Car
In an emergency situation, getting enough gas can be the difference between life and death, whether it’s powering a generator to keep your home warm, or fueling your car to help you bug out in good time and order.
Despite our best efforts, even the best prepper can be caught low on fuel, so being able to adapt to this is key to improving your odds of survival.
One of the best ways to find and scavenge fuel is to siphon it from the tanks of abandoned or unused vehicles.
Instead of getting caught in the panicked rush to the local gas station, getting stuck in traffic and a frenzied horde of panicked people, finding alternative and safer access to fuel is a great way to improve your situation.
There are several methods of siphoning gas safely, and we’re going to look at the most popular methods as well as why it’s so important to use the correct method, which leads us neatly onto our next point.
Why It’s Important To Use Good Technique To Siphon Gas
Siphoning gas is an incredibly valuable skill, and it can save your skin in several different ways, but it does carry some risks which can be potentially dangerous if done incorrectly, and it’s certainly not as simple as the movies make it out to be.
If you do it incorrectly you can potentially cause aspiration, which is where foreign objects or liquids enter the lungs and can’t be removed.
This can cause all kinds of complications, from pneumonia to a come or even death, all of which will naturally have a pretty big knock-on effect on your prepping plans…
Learning the correct way to do this however will allow you to take advantage of a likely totally untapped or ignored resource, which can give you an advantage over the uninitiated and massively improve your prepping skillset and survivability.
The simplest method of siphoning is to put the end of a hose into a gas tank and the other end into a gas can.
Position the can below the height of the gas tank, and the gravity and air pressure in the tank should allow the gas to flow down into the can naturally, due to the nature of suction, pressure and liquid cohesion.
However let’s get a little more in depth for those of you who are interested in the nitty gritty of technique.
Ways To Siphon Gas From A Car
While the method above is one of the most simple, quickest and reliable methods of siphoning gas, you won’t always have all the equipment you need, and you may have to do this in all sorts of circumstances and scenarios depending on where you’re caught and how much fuel you have access to.
It’s likely that you may even get caught without any tools or equipment, and you’ll have to improvise with whatever you can scavenge, but this doesn’t mean you can’t siphon, as long as you know what to do.
While keeping a siphon tucked away in your car or a bug out bag is a great idea, there are other methods you can use which we’re going to look at below.
1. Use A Siphon Pump
If you’re a very dedicated prepper, you may keep a siphon pump, or even several stashed in your bug out bag, home or cars to enable you to siphon gas in almost any situation.
They are actually quite affordable and relatively easy to store so it’s not too inconvenient to keep several in storage or for redundancy in several places.
There are several different kinds of pumps, from automatics to hand powered, and both types work in a similar way, by allowing you to efficiently and easily draw gas out of a car without putting yourself at any risk of exposure to the chemicals within or aspirating them.
Typically, these pumps will have a pump at the center of a hose which creates suction, drawing fuel or other liquids into the hose and allowing them to flow into a can or other storage device.
Using these devices is quite easy, and simply requires you to do the following.
Place your can or storage container on the ground beneath the filler cap, and then insert one end of the hose or tube into the can, and the other end into the gas tank you’re siphoning.
You may need to use specific ends for certain pumps so check this first.
Different pumps will have different mechanisms, from hand plungers to pressure bulbs, but these are what create the suction required to withdraw the fuel.
Once you’ve withdrawn enough fuel, simply raise the can up above the tank you’re siphoning from and allow the fuel in the tube to run back into the tank before closing the can and the tank.
Automatic pumps are easy to use and very convenient, but hand operated siphons take a little effort and can take a few pumps before you start to see fuel.
Cleaning your pump after use is key to preventing it being damaged and remaining good for the long term, which is very important in prepping. Look after your kit, and it will look after you!
2. Pressurize The Tank
Another method you can use is to add pressure to the tank you’re drawing from.
This method isn’t as refined but can work when you’re in a bind. Some methods require you to create pressure by using your mouth, and this allows you to place the gas can or container below the tank and use a tube inserted into the tank to draw out the fuel.
If you use this method, create a loop in the tube so that you can more easily observe, monitor and control the flow of fuel.
With one end of the tube in the tank, begin sucking the other end to create pressure and start drawing the gas out of the tank. As the gas starts to reach the loop, withdraw your mouth from the tube and put the end into your container.
This method is effective in a dire situation, providing your tube is long enough, but it isn’t ideal as it can be slow and somewhat dangerous as ingesting or aspirating gas is very unpleasant and can be dangerous.
A different method of doing this is to create pressure by using two lengths of tubing that have a diameter of 1 inch and are long enough to connect the tank and the container.
One of these tubes should be longer. The first tube should be inserted deep into the gas tank, which is what the longer tube is for. The shorter tube should be just long enough to reach inside the tank.
To add pressure, take the long tube and put it into the gas, then insert the smaller tube into the gas next to the longer one. Seal the space around the tubes with cloth or tape (whatever you have on hand, to create a seal that is as airtight as possible.
Keep your container on the ground, and put the end of the longer tube into the receptacle, then blow into the shorter tube, which will create pressure and force fuel into the longer tube and into your receptacle, creating a sort of closed loop of pressure you can use to extract the fuel, without the risk of aspiration.
3. Siphon Modern Vehicles
Many car manufacturers today design their cars to be harder to siphon gas from, especially as it is so costly today, making the methods above difficult or near impossible to use reliably.
These types of cars use filters and other flaps to block and inhibit tubes from entering the gas tank directly, and automatically engage if someone tries to push a hose into the tank.
This has made siphoning from modern cars much more challenging, but it isn’t impossible. All you need to do is use the right tools.
To do this, you can use the methods used above, but will need to use a tool to jam open the flaps of filters. When doing this, make sure not to use something which could create a spark, such as metal tools and the like. This is bad news for you and your survival chances.
Take whatever long sturdy object you can find and jam it into the gas tank to hold open the flap far enough to allow you to insert your tube.
Obviously, a smaller tube will help but this will restrict your flow making it take much longer and potentially require more suction.
Some cars use ball valves and filters that can’t be easily bypassed, and this may mean you need to look for another vehicle or use special tools that you likely won’t be able to find in a real emergency.
Don’t waste time on these cars unless you’re truly desperate and have the right tools available.
Survival is all about making the right decisions at the right time, and wasting time on fruitless causes is almost always a bad call.
You can improve your chances by learning about common or popular cars and what systems they use to help identify the best targets to siphon and save time and effort, maximizing your chances of success and survival.