Refueling at gas stations without utility power.

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Zimmy, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    I personally don't know what is required. I have enough industrial knowledge to adapt to any situation I may come across but am blind beyond general guesswork and dubiously researched fiction.

    Can I power the pump itself with my vehicle 12VDC-120VAC inverter? Do I need an explosion proof 12VDC pump? What's the suction head or access dimensions? What works?

    Who has definitive knowledge on what is required to get gas out of an underground tank?
  2. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Gas pumps work off of 120 VAC - jumper your AC to the pump.

    I ran into this decades ago as part of a Global Shield exercise with the SAC weenies.
    They carried light plants - but had no clue on how to get fuel from a commercial gas station if grid down.

    A simple set of jumpers would do the trick.

    This was covered in Going Home. - the characters used a genset from an old RV to power the local gas pumps to keep their VW Bus running (refuel)
  3. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    I have thought about this. I think any hand pump, water or otherwise, with 25 feet of lift could be used. A gas powered pump with the same lift would do but you might not have the gas to run it. The jumper solution above would work best if you had the needed equipment (generator or battery and inverter) to make it work. Anyone know how many amps a station pump would pull?
  4. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Fuel can often be pumped out of gas station underground tanks. A fellow at our church was caught and convicted of stealing gas doing exactly that. He had a van with a tank in back and a trap door in the floor. He’d park over the in-ground fill port at a gas station, open his trap door, reach down and open the fill port, drop a hose down into the underground tank, and pump out gas. Given that the bottom of the tank is probably roughly 8-10 feet below the surface, a good self priming pump that can pull roughly 6 PSIG of vacuum or better, such as a diaphragm pump, would likely work.

    Bigger issues might be in paying, not being considered a thief, etc. Trying to power the station pump likely has issues as the cash register or computers inside need to also be powered up to send enable commands to the pumps. The computer systems make using the station pumps a bit challenging. Probably better to just bring your own.

  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    My gas station makes use of gravity. :D

  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Just for information, all may not be lost. First Responders got involved in this circa 2004/2005. States and County Emergency Management all got rolled up into Homeland Security / down to Fema / down to States Emergency Management / down to County and Municipal Emergency Management. Every County and Municipality had guidelines for requirements to become Emergency PREPARED. Federal funds were made available generously through grants on a basis of as low as 90% federal funds / to 10% local matching funds.
    At the time all this was going on I was a volunteer county firefighter. We were required to do educational courses on cert and fema, and our place in all this. They also ran a whole lot of us out of the volunteer thing, myself included. How ever I stuck around long enough to learn about all this stuff and how it might apply should the SHTF.
    One of the requirements on a county / municipal level was for 1 in 10 gas stations were to updated or built to be able to provide Gasolene and Diesel and have GENERATOR BACKUP POWER to at the very least to be able to provide fuel whether the power was out or not. My little county of roughly 20,000 souls is compliant. This was accomplished through new construction permitting, and the grants I spoke of earlier. Look my little county, one of 67 in the State accomplished this. I think this county is the smallest or next to smallest.
    Find out who your County's DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT is! Or go to a local Board of County Commissioner's monthly meeting and ask at least 2 questions; I live at XXX Address, who is my County Commissioner? and is my County FEMA disaster prepared? If they say yes, a 3rd question should be, What gas stations in the County have FEMA required back up emergency power generators.
    The entire Nation is supposed to be prepared for this. Look into it. Your tax dollars or federal money tree devaluation of everyone's money paid for this.
  7. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    Good to know someone is watching the news. I was prepared to give a couple of rigs to the county boys to keep them on the road serving and protecting.

    Someone told me each pump has a 3/4" or 1" camlock capped port on the pump discharge for volumetric certification testing. Has anyone ever seen this?

    Inverter to pump and camlock to fill hose would be crazy convenient. Internet suggested it was true but.that could be company specific.
    Dunerunner and Gator 45/70 like this.
  8. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Someone earlier mentioned stealing. If the owners are dead, gas is in the tanks and some local law and order exist. As a retired construction electrician I have no doubt with a portable generator of 8 - 10KW I could figure out how to isolate load and electrical panels to power pumps and their control wiring devices plus a few lights without much problem. Looting and destruction for no real purpose is not on my list of activities post SHTF. It is why I prepare and try to learn. I may discuss this with an owner or 2 of gas stations without generator backup. Something like this is something maybe you might want to discuss on a local level if you know someone with a gas station. just saying.
    Dunerunner and Gator 45/70 like this.
  9. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    I'm not interested in looting gas in a cross country jaunt. My main spin is to get my part of the county functional as well is possible. Folks that can think outside the box are often few and far between.

    I know the owners/managers of our close local establishments and they can barely figure out anything past a light bulb or plugged toilet. They are merely money gatherers for a larger family enterprise.

    I want something to bring to the table in barter. Such as renewal of business....
    Dunerunner, Gator 45/70, SB21 and 2 others like this.
  10. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Cool idea.
    And no I would never try it. In the long run it's always cheaper to pay for the product (unless it's full blown SHTF nuclear war, pandemic, walkers everywhere, millions dead etc).
    Dunerunner and Gator 45/70 like this.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The trick for using the Station’s Pumps, is to isolate the Pump motor windings at the motor, and feed them directly from your portable Power Unit. You may find that the motor is 3Phase, and if so then you will need a 1 Hp 3Pase FreqDrive to do the single to 3 Phase conversion, but it is All do’able, if you are set up for it... Th e Tank Fill Pipe and Small Pump is also a viable option, thatdoesn’t take much space...
    Dunerunner and Gator 45/70 like this.
  12. Tempstar

    Tempstar Monkey+++

    The Gilbarco pumps I used to work on required 120/60/1 power at 9 amps to the pump. To energize the motor there are 2 relays that must be made. Therefore you would have to power the system on the wall inside the store as well as the pump, or unwire the pump and wire it directly to the genny.
  13. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    This will work for a slow refueling from the top of the tank, will need a longer suction hose (garden hose with adapter), but an old fashioned pitcher pump like you would use with a shallow well would work faster.

  14. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Illini Warrior

    no problem isolating the pumps at the fuse box and powering them with a genny >>> but you're talking about making alot of freaking noise if the situation is precarious ...

    if you connect and seal a 12v large vehicle fuel pump in a NEMA box - run some long leads to a battery - you can do some silent fueling when the situation calls for it .... there's a few commercial made 12v fuel pumps that'll do the job - worth the investment $$$ if you can't go the DIY route ...
  15. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    The hand pump you have illustrated should work fine IF you add a check valve at the very foot of the suction line. That way every complete stroke cycle of the hand pump would draw fuel into the suction hose, but not allow it to flow back into the main supply tank. Maybe also with a small shutoff valve just before the pump also so that no fuel would be inadvertently wasted. Upon completion of fuel transfer, you could close the shutoff valve, withdraw the suction hose from the tank, unscrew the check valve and lower the hose a foot or so into the main tank and drain the remaining fuel back into the main supply tank.
  16. Something just occurred to me. Pulling gas off the bottom of a storage tank, you could also be pumping out water, sludge and other contaminants.
    Dunerunner, Gator 45/70 and tacmotusn like this.
  17. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Use a stick like the people at the gas station do to ascertain depth of fuel and lower your hose into the fuel but not the bottom of the tank.
    Dunerunner and Gator 45/70 like this.
  18. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Years ago I had a Jabsco 12 volt clutch pump that I sold to a Stump jumper over in Miss.
    He and his buds rigged up the pump and hoses in a truck.
    Were as they would pull into maw and paws store at night,Drop the hose in and fill up 55 gallons drums with fuel.
    When he told me his story I'm like you guys are going to blow yourselves up if some store owner doesn't shoot you first!
    Dunerunner and Zimmy like this.
  19. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    Fuel will be categorized as a Strategic Resource, will all be under total control of the Government, and resource gatherers not on the Govt. List, will be shot on sight... buy a bicycle, as they will not be confiscated until the gas runs then you should be used to walking and running to stay alive.
    Gator 45/70, 3cyl and Dunerunner like this.
  20. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Illini Warrior

    most SHTFs aren't BAM and it's here - most SHTFs will have a run up - some will be damn long before it seriously pops - the people with resources $$$$$ will be emptying the store shelves along with the fuel supplies >>>> and there's only soooo much setting in reserve storage tanks ready to be tankered to retail stations - if the tankers are even running - you could see stations closed or operating a few hours a day - there might not be any underground tanks to suck ....
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