Letter Re: One Source of Emergency Fuel for Diesel Engines

Mr. Rawles,

I really enjoyed your Christian-themed survivalist books and always wondered what my family and I would do under similar circumstances. Now I’m a little too old to be doing any of that;. But I thought I’d pass on something to you for for your future books and for the SurvivalBlog readership.

I worked for more than 45 years in the electric utility industry in substation construction and maintenance. When our large transformer oil trucks were finished work at the end of the day, we’d always dump the left-over transformer insulating oil into our diesel truck’s “saddle tanks” and drive back to the service center yard using that insulating oil [mixed with the diesel fuel already in the tank.]

The following applies only in the event of an absolute worst-case grid-down societal collapse: Let’s suppose that you own a diesel vehicle, the electric grid goes down permanently and you’re trying to “bug out” and go somewhere safe. [In addition to the often-mention cooking oil] there is another alternate fuel: Every substation or pad-mounted transformer on your route is a potential emergency “filling station.” You can use these as places to obtain fuel. And by the way, I should mention that insulating oil is a lot more stable than diesel fuel.

WARNING: Don’t try this stunt from an energized transformer or you’ll have a lot of smoke, fire and excitement.

Regards, – Joe S.

JWR Adds: This letter was posted for informational purposes only. Needless to say, this technique has moral hazard and would also open anyone up to the hazards of criminal and civil penalties, not to mention the many safety hazards. One of these that was not mentioned in Joe’s letter was the risk of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They are chemically similar to dioxin. And although PCBs were banned in 1979 in the United States, they are still found in some older closed system transformers.