Gasoline and diesel: How much fuel can I bunker, what should I watch out for?

Should one now buy and store petrol in larger quantities? Does that make sense and is it even allowed? In general, for safety reasons, it is not advisable to keep a supply of fuel and store it in the home or even in the vehicle. This also makes no economic sense, because fuel prices are subject to constant fluctuations that laypeople can hardly calculate in advance.

This is how fuel can be transported safely

Is there a maximum number of filled reserve canisters in the car that must not be exceeded? In Germany, the total volume of 60 liters per reserve container and 240 liters per “transport unit” may not be exceeded in private vehicles. Transport unit is a technical term from the dangerous goods industry: It means a vehicle with or without a trailer.

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However, the ADAC warns against transporting such quantities privately: You should never have more than ten liters on board. The canister should then be as far away as possible from the people in the car – ideally in the trunk. A reserve canister must be tight, lockable and unbreakable.

Transport and storage in open containers, eg buckets or cans, is prohibited.

This is how the fuel can be stored at home

Are there regulations on the maximum amount of fuel that can be stored in the garage? Here you have to distinguish between petrol and diesel. § 17 of the Bavarian Garage Ordinance applies to the storage of petrol in garages; the regulations in other federal states should be comparable. It says: “In medium-sized and large garages, only insignificant quantities of flammable materials may be stored outside of motor vehicles.

In small garages, up to 200 liters of diesel fuel and up to 20 liters of petrol can be stored in tightly closed, shatterproof containers.” Much more is permitted with diesel than with petrol because it is not as flammable and therefore not as dangerous. Small garages are buildings up to 100 square meters.

Why storing gasoline can be life-threatening

CAUTION: Storing fuel at home can be fatal – it contains highly flammable vapors which can escape from loose containers that are not tightly closed. If you still want to store fuel in the garage, you should be particularly careful with plastic canisters, as these are not 100% airtight. The fuel properties can change as a result. There is also a risk of poisoning.


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How long does fuel keep?

Christian Küchen, General Manager of the Mineral Oil Industry Association: “There is no fixed minimum or end-of-life date for petrol, diesel and heating oil. It can last for many months and years if it is tightly closed, stored in a cool and dark place in tanks or canisters. However, there are differences in summer and winter fuel. In particular, winter gasoline with its higher vapor pressure can result in a hot engine not starting in warmer temperatures.”

Since diesel contains a proportion of biodiesel, the quality of the fuel can suffer as a result of the so-called diesel plague. It occurs because bacterial cultures form in the biodiesel over time. Above a critical amount, they can clog filters and injection pumps.

How much fuel can you take across the border?

If you go abroad to get cheap fuel as a tank tourist, you have to observe the much stricter rules for importing fuel: Here you are only allowed to take up to 20 liters of fuel in a reserve canister. There are of course tax reasons for this: Anyone who imports more diesel or petrol may be guilty of tax evasion.

Attention: In Austria and the Czech Republic only ten liters are allowed as a reserve outside the tank.

What are the rules for canisters?

Any plastic materials are unsuitable for filling with fuel – their material can dissolve in contact with petrol. For this reason, only containers with special properties and a corresponding label (RKK approval) should be used (also for metal containers).

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The so-called RKK approval (RKK stands for reserve fuel canister) is embossed or cast into the container. This identification indicates: • Manufacturer • Nominal volume • Approval code (e.g. 01/BAM/3.10/3/84) • Month and year of manufacture • Minimum dimensions without cap and accessories • Text: “Only for petrol or diesel fuel for individual use in motor vehicles” • Label with the hazard symbol “Flame”.

With plastic canisters, the material ages and deteriorates over the years. The year of manufacture is usually stamped on canisters, after about ten years they should be replaced. Important: Check the metal canister for rusty spots! (12 fuel-saving tips from the editors)

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