With the recent fuel panic buying leaving many struggling to fill up their vehicles, reports suggest drivers have been topping up containers and storing fuel at home.
While this is not illegal, experts have warned about the dangers of improperly storing fuel – as well as encouraging motorists not to stockpile fuel at home as this makes it harder for others to fill up when they need it.
Motoring organisation the RAC has put together a guide for those considering storing fuel at home. It says it’s legal to have up to 30 litres of petrol at your residence without needing a licence, while there is no specific legal requirement on storing diesel at home.
Fuel can be stored only if it has been placed in the correct container with a tight-fitting lid. The limits are 10 litres in a plastic container, 20 litres in a metal ‘jerry’ can, and 30 litres in a demountable fuel tank such as that found on a boat.
If you’re storing fuel at home, it’s always worth remembering that it’s a huge fire risk. You should store it in a secure outbuilding such as a shed or garage, well away from any source of ignition. It should also be cool – never store it outside or in your house, or anywhere children or pets could get access.
Diesel is not flammable like petrol but it can still be dangerous, so it’s advised to follow the same guidelines as above.
If stored in a sealed container at 20 degrees, petrol will last about six months, or half that if it’s stored at 30 degrees. The warmer it is, the quicker it will go ‘off’.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Just because it’s legal to store up to 30 litres of petrol at home, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do when so many drivers have been struggling to get the fuel they need to go to work and carry out their important daily tasks.
“Those who need to should follow the law carefully to keep themselves, their families and neighbours safe. Petrol should always be kept in the proper containers in an outbuilding and never left outside.”