Letter Re: Large Volume Liquid Fuel Storage

Thursday, Sep 8, 2005

Mr. Rawles,
Many thanks for an excellent web site!  I read it daily with much anticipation.  Your book Patriots is a first-class work as well. 
 
Storing fuel is a must for a survival retreat.  Having said that, how do you get delivered several hundred gallons of diesel (or gas) without raising eyebrows?  I live in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina on a mountain top.  Very private and quiet, but not a farm.  Maybe it is easier than I presume and nothing would raise flags to delivery folks filling a couple of above ground tanks.  Is there an approach that has worked for you or your readers?

OBTW, your Retreat Owner Profiles are super--keep up the good work! - S.P.

JWR Replies: As mentioned in previous blog posts, I recommend getting the largest underground fuel tanks that you can afford, but of course no larger than the maximum allowable under your local law. I also recommend that you purchase the tanks from a company that is a long distance away, and that you have workmen from that same company handle the delivery and installation. That will keep local rumors to a minimum. For example, one of my good friends in Clearwater County, Idaho ordered his gas and diesel tanks from a company in Missoula, Montana, more than 100 miles away. The shipping was expensive, but this was offset by the fact that Montana has no state sales tax. OBTW, the fiberglass fake basalt rocks covering the filler necks and hose stands are a nice touch.

As for the local companies that fill your tanks, there are a couple of obfuscatory statements that might prove helpful: "I only got this big tank because I want to be able to ride out large price fluctuations." Or, "I need to keep this much diesel on hand because I'm co-owner of a (fill in the blank) company." (Trucking, logging, et cetera)

The most expensive but most discreet approach is available for "Secret Squirrels" with a big budget: As I just described, have your large underground tanks installed by a company from at least 50 miles away. Then order your fuel in small increments (200 gallons or less) from several different vendors, preferably from 30+ miles away. There is no way for them to know the capacity of your underground tank just by looking at the exposed filler neck--unless of course the curvature of the tank also shows. Shelling out for multiple delivery charges is a high price to pay for privacy, but TANSTAAFL. Parenthetically, I have one acquaintance in Wyoming that has an 80 gallon diesel "L" shaped tank (the under tool box type) in the bed of his his dualie F350 diesel pickup. He buys diesel 90+ gallons at a time on his weekly trips to Cheyenne. Once he gets home, he pumps it into his 3,000 gallon diesel tank at home. It is a slow process, by very discreet.


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