in: Featured, Outdoor/Survival, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

How to Siphon Fuel

Basic method illustrated to siphon gas.

Gasoline is one of the most powerful resources around. With a supply of fuel, you can run cars, operate machinery, and power generators. You can start fires in the windiest, wettest conditions imaginable, run camping stoves, and even clean oil stains with it. For all of its benefits, there’s a reason why most apocalypse movies and television shows start with scenes of people scrambling to fill up at the gas station. The question is, what do you do when you can’t get to the gas station?  

Siphoning fuel is a critical skill, and it applies to any situation where you need to transfer liquids from one container into another. Siphoning works by creating a vacuum that initiates water flow from a higher point to a lower point. So, whether you find yourself siphoning fuel out of your tank to help someone who’s run out of gas in the backcountry, or you’re neck deep in a zombie apocalypse trying to keep your RV running, here’s how to siphon some fuel to keep you on the road. All you need is a container to siphon into, and enough hose to stretch from the inside of the car’s gas tank to your container.

1: Take off the gas cap on the car and feed one end of your hose into the tank.

2: Get your container open and ready to fill.

3: Suck on the end of the hose like a straw (if it’s a clear hose watch for fuel to begin flowing through the tube toward your mouth).

4: Transfer the hose end from your mouth to the container as soon as fuel enters your mouth.

5: Spit out any fuel remaining in your mouth and rinse with clean water immediately.

6: Keep the container below the level of the fuel tank to continue siphoning.

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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