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Old 05-28-2013, 10:11 PM
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Default Power Outage at the Gas Pump...



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What's with all the post apocalyptic books assuming gasoline can't be gotten out of the tank after the power is gone?

Can no one hook up a generator to power the pumps, use a hand crank pump, or just crack open the lid and lower down some weighted buckets to collect the gas???

I read yet another book today and the people past gas station after gas station and not a single mention of checking the tanks for fuel...

How do you plan on getting more gas if you run out after the grid goes down? Do you have a contingency plan for it?
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:31 PM
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I don't plan on going anywhere if the grid goes down. And if I need to, I have plenty of fuel stored. But there are nice 12 volt pump systems that would get fuel out of the tank easily. They aren't terribly expensive either.
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:38 PM
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It must have been a liability issue --- a long time ago during a power failure - I offered a local station owner the use of my generator for an hour to run one pump --

I would run the power to the breaker panel and I'd get my two cars and two 5 gal. cans filled --- for free ---

He made a call to ? --- five minutes later ---- "NO" --

Not even a little bartering --- "NO" --

A no brain-er to me is emergency generators at gas stations ---- I've never seen one !
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:43 PM
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In Florida certain gas stations are required to have generators to pump gas, which in itself is an interesting requirement since first sign of a hurricane they shut down the barges that bring fuel into our area and there's no gas anyway, but I digress.

I do know that a regular generator won't operate the electronic gas pumps (which most of them are now.) Something to do with sine waves and dirty power, every times there's a glitch in the power delivery it shuts down the pump. The generators that run clean enough power, sine wave wise, to run computers, will power a gasoline pump. Now, wasn't that the most technical explanation you've ever seen.

To go directly to the tank a hand pump or a 12v pump should work if you can get into the tank. If the grid goes down and there's still any law enforcement, owners of stations, or close neighbors that might feel they have a prior claim to the fuel around, it could end up in a science experiment - how gasoline fumes are affected the discharge of a firearm.
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:44 PM
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The pumps at gas stations are more than likely 3-phase, which means most any generator you can take with you won't be able to run the pump. 3-phase portable generators are usually skid-mounted or on trailers and run off diesel.

Also those caps over the fuel tanks are pretty formidable, else lots of people would drop a line in them after hours when the price gets as high as its been.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:07 PM
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The stations here required to have generators can run on smaller generators, the pumps aren't all that high a voltage evidently. The stations around here, I just called one and checked, can meet the need with a "5kw clean wave generator with a 220 circuit." They have to install a transfer switch and they have to keep the generator stored within a certain distance of the store so it could be up and running in a timely manner.

He also mentioned that the fuel distributors have to have alternative power sources that will let them operate for 72 operating hours, three days worth if they run around the clock.

This law was put in place in 2007 in Florida after it seemed like between the hurricane seasons of 2004-2005, at some point, half the state was without fuel at one time or another.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:25 PM
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Reminds me......couple of years ago there was a rash of fuel robberies.
They all occurred in the country.
Couple of guys were driving around towing a camper trailer, the camper trailer was in fact a big fuel tank with false walls and windows.
These guys would pull in to a roadhouse (rural fuel station), slip the cap off (?) and drop in a 12volt pump.
They took many thousands of gallons over a 6mth period, dont know if they were ever caught.

Cheers........Dog
Old 05-28-2013, 11:36 PM
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Lower a bucket down?

These aren't medieval wells that are several feet across at their openings; the inlets on these are maybe 3" in diameter at most - what kind of a bucket will you get down those pipes??

As for hand pumps or 12V pumps - yes, a good thing to have. I have one (a hand pump - I will get a 12V pump too). Just remember that not all pumps will lift a liquid from more than a certain depth and these tanks are usually buried at a depth of more than a couple of feet.

That said, in a SHTF situation, I would probably be able to get either the retail pumps working or something that could pump from the tank inlets if I could get the locks off them.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:50 PM
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Remember in the movie 'I Am Legend' he uses a hand crank pump to pull fuel out of the tank.
Old 05-29-2013, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironic outlook View Post
Remember in the movie 'I Am Legend' he uses a hand crank pump to pull fuel out of the tank.
Not really applicable here, but a damn good movie! Google "Maximum Overdrive 1987" You'll never look at your truck quite the same again...
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:23 AM
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anyone see the BBC tv series Survivors?

most realistic scene of the entire series was where the guy was 12V pumping underground station tanks ... he sparks the battery and blows up the entire neighborhood ......
Old 05-29-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianWorf View Post
Also those caps over the fuel tanks are pretty formidable, else lots of people would drop a line in them after hours when the price gets as high as its been.
Really??

The stations around here have simple caps on them to allow access to take readings with at the end of the night.

I worked at the station here closest to me, and we used long wooden poles to take readings.

Pop the cap, drop the pole, yank it out.

No keys, no special caps, just a screwdriver to get the lid off with.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illini Warrior View Post
anyone see the BBC tv series Survivors?

most realistic scene of the entire series was where the guy was 12V pumping underground station tanks ... he sparks the battery and blows up the entire neighborhood ......
Saw that.

I was looking into 12V gas fuel pumps a few years ago.

I haven't checked recently, but it seems that only spark free pumps can be used to pump petrol from an underground tank. Not just any pump will do. At them time, pricing on those were much, much higher than generic 12V pumps.

Use a regular electric pump at your own risk.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mels thinkingitover View Post
The stations here required to have generators can run on smaller generators, the pumps aren't all that high a voltage evidently. The stations around here, I just called one and checked, can meet the need with a "5kw clean wave generator with a 220 circuit." They have to install a transfer switch and they have to keep the generator stored within a certain distance of the store so it could be up and running in a timely manner.

He also mentioned that the fuel distributors have to have alternative power sources that will let them operate for 72 operating hours, three days worth if they run around the clock.

This law was put in place in 2007 in Florida after it seemed like between the hurricane seasons of 2004-2005, at some point, half the state was without fuel at one time or another.
I don't know if it's required by law, but the gas stations nearest me after Katrina had backup generators. The lines were pretty spectacular after the first few fuel deliveries. The beer distributors didn't waste any time, either. It was kind of surreal to see a Budweiser truck sharing the road with a Nat Guard convoy, rolling through what looked like a war zone...
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFittest View Post
What's with all the post apocalyptic books assuming gasoline can't be gotten out of the tank after the power is gone?

Can no one hook up a generator to power the pumps, use a hand crank pump, or just crack open the lid and lower down some weighted buckets to collect the gas???

I read yet another book today and the people past gas station after gas station and not a single mention of checking the tanks for fuel...

How do you plan on getting more gas if you run out after the grid goes down? Do you have a contingency plan for it?
Why would the people around the gas station or the owners not have already used those methods to drain it dry?

Are you willing to try to steal gas when doing so might get you a bullet in the back? Gas would be a VERY valuable commodity in a disaster, after all; someone might be guarding it.

RE contingency: Short-term, that's why I've got gas stored and stabilized. Long term, when the gas is gone, it's gone and we walk.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old dude View Post
I don't know if it's required by law, but the gas stations nearest me after Katrina had backup generators. The lines were pretty spectacular after the first few fuel deliveries. The beer distributors didn't waste any time, either. It was kind of surreal to see a Budweiser truck sharing the road with a Nat Guard convoy, rolling through what looked like a war zone...
Louisiana and Florida are the only states that made it a law to require the backup generators. Then it only applies to a few stations and within a certain distance of the interstate, etc.

The gasoline for our area at the time of Katrina all came up the intercoastal waterway on barges. They shut down the barges before Katrina hit and then with all the damage it was weeks before they got them going again. For our area they rerouted gas supplies from Georgia thru Tallahassee, it took forever for them to get that worked out. It was a good time to have gas stored. People with transfer tanks were putting them on their pickups and going up into Alabama to pick up gas for people.

We went to Bay St. Louis a couple of times with relief efforts and they had gas at the truck stops where we got off the interstate several days before we did and we didn't get any Katrina damage at all. Still lost power for 6 days though. The truck stop we stopped at was on generator power when we came through. Things didn't look too bad if you discounted the boats on the side of the interstate and in the trees until we got down to Bay St. Louis and as close as we could get to Ocean Springs. It was heartbreaking.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mels thinkingitover View Post

We went to Bay St. Louis a couple of times with relief efforts and they had gas at the truck stops where we got off the interstate several days before we did and we didn't get any Katrina damage at all. Still lost power for 6 days though. The truck stop we stopped at was on generator power when we came through. Things didn't look too bad if you discounted the boats on the side of the interstate and in the trees until we got down to Bay St. Louis and as close as we could get to Ocean Springs. It was heartbreaking.
You weren't far from me. Thanks for coming!

I live north of the exit you took to get to BSL. As much damage as we got, south of the interstate was mind-boggling. Those people took a beating.

it was awesome, though, to see the amount of help that poured in from all over.

And (back on topic) it's ALWAYS a good time to have extra gas on hand!
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:24 AM
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All I have is a 55 gallon drum I keep full and keep cycling new fuel through as well as stablizer . Also building up a 55 with diesel for the generator and tractors.
I ride a motorcycle so I only buy about 5 gallons extra at a time ,in seperate plastic containers, and it's easier on the budget that way too, and the spare fuel pays off from time to time.
When the price drops a little more, I may start another drum of gas.
I figure that if I had to ,the drums could go on the shop trailer and I can transfir from there to the truck as required using regular automotive fuel pumps and fuel lines and quick couplers at the hitch .
If it's operated from a switch at the dash there would be little reason to stop.
This is only a contingency IF I have to "book out of dodge" and it is actually possable to.
I'm not sure that DOT would allow this normally.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old dude View Post
I don't know if it's required by law, but the gas stations nearest me after Katrina had backup generators. The lines were pretty spectacular after the first few fuel deliveries. The beer distributors didn't waste any time, either. It was kind of surreal to see a Budweiser truck sharing the road with a Nat Guard convoy, rolling through what looked like a war zone...
There's a reason they shared the convoy, they truck in bottled water in emergencies. The beer companies do this free both as a public service and free advertising.
Old 05-29-2013, 10:31 AM
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There's a reason they shared the convoy, they truck in bottled water in emergencies. The beer companies do this free both as a public service and free advertising.
Yep. I think I still have a 6 pack of Budwater around here somewhere.

But in this case, they weren't part of the convoy. They were simply delivering beer, as in good old free enterprise. Most of the water that showed up, was commercial bottled water in the usual packaging.
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