On Hubbert’s Peak

Some prognosticators contend that a massive economic shift will occur if and when the world’s oil supply begins to run out– as oil is consumed faster than new sources are located so that our “known reserves” begin to decline. (This tipping point is known as “Hubbert’s Peak.”– a.k.a. “Peak Oil“) Some of the most alarmist analysts suggest that this may start as soon as 2010. Here, I should forthrightly note that since I have faith in capitalist ingenuity, I believe that any such shortage will occur much later. They say that as wells shut down and supply decreases, we will have blackouts by 2015. Roughly two billion people are fed using petrochemical-based fertilizers, which will become prohibitively expensive when oil starts to runs out. There is the grim prospect of mass starvation and massive global wars over increasingly scant resources. For details on these predictions, see:
http://www.hubbertpeak.com/ and, http://dieoff.com/

These grim and alarmist predictions aside, it is important that you have your retreat well stocked with fuels—both solid and liquid. Aside from increased risk of fire or siphoning theft, you can look at your stored fuel as non-dollar denominated “money in the bank.” As of today’s date, the price of oil is spiking past $67 per barrel. Those of us who bought storage fuel when diesel was $1.29 per gallon did well!

A large stored fuel supply at your retreat will make you immune from short term price spikes, and you will have extra on hand for barter and charity. Storage life is a problem for some liquid fuels, especially gasoline. Here is a quote from my first novel, Patriots:
“The category of fuel that I am most concerned about is liquid fuels. Our diesel storage tank is presently almost full–about 900 gallons. It has been stabilized, and it has been treated with an antibacterial. You’ve all heard this before, but for Rose’s benefit, I’ll repeat it. The basic rule for fuel storage is: the more highly refined the fuel, the shorter its storage life. That means that kerosene will store for 15 years or more, diesel stores for eight to ten years, and gasoline normally has only about a two-year storage life. Beyond that, it builds up gums and peroxides, and suffers decomposition of anti-knock compounds to the point that fuel filters clog up and engines won’t run. Also, the butane that is added to gasoline tends to evaporate. Once the butane burns off, starting an engine can be hard. You usually have to use ether. In general, high temperatures and exposure to oxygen encourage the decomposition process. Stored fuel also tends to attract moisture, and that causes a whole ‘nother set of problems. The storage life of all liquid fuels can be extended by the use of a special additive called Gas Saver that delays the decomposition process, and we have plenty of that on hand. Overall, the best way to store fuel is in a completely full, sealed underground container.”

Because of the relatively short storage life of gasoline, it is best to standardize with diesel and/or propane for your vehicles and generators, if possible. Add fuel stabilizer to your stored gas, and rotate it very frequently. Note that you will have to get anti-gel and anti-bacterial additives for your diesel tank. It may sound hard to believe, but there are bacteria that can grow in diesel fuel!