Understanding Gas Siphoning
The idea of gas siphoning is quite simple. There is a gas tank, you have an empty container, and you need to get the gasoline from the gas tank into your empty container. How do you do it? You siphon the gas with a hose. It’s functionally not all that complicated.
There isn’t really much else to it. There are basically three main ways that you can siphon gas from a vehicle. Using a specialized gas siphon pump, a system that utilizes pressure and two hoses, or the good ol’ fashioned way of getting the glow of gas started by sucking through the hose with your mouth. The best and safest way is definitely with a gas siphoning kit, which pretty much does all the work for you. However, it’s still important to understand how to do it without equipment if the need were ever to arise.
You might be thinking that there’s no reasonable cause to ever siphon gasoline out of a vehicle, especially out of someone else’s vehicle. But the truth is that you just don’t know (actually, given that this is a survival website, that’s probably not true). There could come a time when knowing how to properly siphon gas (safely and quickly) could literally mean the difference between life or death.
As with everything in survival and prepping, it’s always safer to have the skill and never use it than to not have the skill when you need it.
Why Would You Siphon Gas?
If you are still on the fence about whether you need to learn how to siphon gas or not, let’s take a few minutes to sit down and go through exactly why you might end up in a situation where you need this skill at some point in the future.
Maybe you’ve run out of gas in the middle of nowhere (where there’s no cell signal) and a stranger stops to help – but you’re not comfortable abandoning your car. So you can’t hitch a ride with them. What can you do? One option is to siphon some of their gas to get you to the next gas station.
Here’s another scenario. You’re on vacation in a different country and you completely run out of gas. It’s a dangerous area that your car has stopped in and there’s a car nearby. Your priority is to get out of the area as soon as possible because your family is with you. In this situation, wouldn’t you consider siphoning gas off a nearby vehicle
Gas siphoning is not just for petty criminals trying to save a bit money. It’s actually a useful skill that might come in handy across a range of different possible real life situations. But we haven’t even talked about the biggest reason why you’d want to learn how to siphon gas.
Siphoning Gas for Survival If SHTF
When it comes to critical situations, siphoning gas could very well save your life. In the case of a major disaster or post-apocalyptic of situation, gasoline will be more valuable than ever.
In any situation where gasoline production stops completely, gas immediately becomes a highly valuable commodity. Having access to fuel means you can run a generator, it means you can travel long distances. It’s means the potential for escape or the ability to transport a large amount of supplies over long distance.
In short, knowing how to safely access reserves of gas that other people can’t will give you a huge survival advantage if everything goes wrong in the world.
If there were to be a complete shortage of gasoline, you might need to resort to siphoning gas from other people’s cars. Maybe there are cars sitting on the side of the road abandoned. While it might not seem “right” to you, in a survival situation all bets are off. Knowing how to siphon gas from another vehicle in order to fuel your own could prove to be a crucial skill for keeping your family safe.
It’s also not just about gasoline for your car. Gas is also potentially fuel for your generator or other important machinery. If there is no way to get gas legally, and the world has gone to the dogs, it’s even more likely that you’ll need to power your generator just as a way to stay alive. One way to get gas in a world where gasoline is a scarce resource is by siphoning. Also, by siphoning, you can also begin to build a stockpile of gasoline which could be used to barter for other essential supplies.
Understanding the Danger of Siphoning Gas
Before you bust out your hose and start practicing siphoning gasoline on your own gas tank, you should understand the dangers of siphoning gas. If you use a specialized pump, you don’t face the same dangers as doing it with your mouth, but you should still understand what you’re dealing with.
First of all, gasoline and diesel are both dangerous materials. These are toxic substances that can cause serious problems if you inhale their fumes or directly ingest them (meaning if you accidentally drink some of it). A little bit probably won’t kill you although it might make you sick. However, if you accidentally get one-too-many gulps of diesel or gas down your throat, you’ll be taking a trip to the emergency room in hurry, and you could be endangering your own life. The fumes can also be dangerous, so if you’re using the mouth suction method, you should definitely be careful.
Additionally, obviously fire is not a great thing to be around when dealing with gasoline. Before you start siphoning, you should definitely put out that cigarette, and make sure there are no flames or embers anywhere in the vicinity.
Other than that, the main worry is breathing In too much of the fumes. The fumes from fuel can knock you unconscious really quickly if you breathe in too much too quickly, so it’s definitely something to be aware of.
This is something you might not know, even if you are aware of how to siphon gas. Old vehicles don’t have any safety mechanisms between the nozzle and the gas tank. The gas goes in and the gas can come out just as easily.
Modern vehicles aren’t so simple. Many gas tanks have recently been fitted with anti-siphoning devices designed specially to prevent people from sneakily stealing fuel. And while this is obviously a great idea to prevent theft, it does pose a bit of a problem if you’re in an emergency or survival situation.
The good news is that most of these barriers can easily be held open with a screwdriver. This can be a little tricky, and you definitely want to have a multi tool or a proper screwdriver with you just in case you encounter one of these barriers. You’ll need to pry open the little flap (the anti-siphoning barrier) while you are sucking the gasoline out. You’ll know what to do when you see how it’s designed. It’s really just a flap, so bring an appropriate tool for levering it open and you should be good.
How Do You Siphon Gas?
Now it is time for the good part. To siphon gas, there are three main methods. You can siphon the traditional way using suction with just your mouth and a hose, you can use a pump specially designed for siphoning, or you can siphon using the “pressure” method.
Obviously, sucking a hose that you’ve dipped into somebody’s gas tank is the least preferred method given what we’ve already said about the fumes being dangerous. For this reason, if you don’t happen to have an actual siphoning device with you for pumping the gas out, your best option is to use the pressure method.
If you are preparing an INCH bag, or if you have a garage full of emergency gear, it probably makes sense to pick up a siphon pump. These devices aren’t just for siphoning gas after all – you can use them for getting water out of a well, or extracting other kinds of potentially valuable liquids that might be difficult to access.
Siphoning gas with your mouth should always be the absolute last option and only someone you should try in an absolute emergency where time is of the essence.
How to Siphon Gas with the Pressure Method
This is where things get a little scientific. You only need two hoses and a rag for this method. When it comes to hoses, you can use plastic tubing, any kind of rubber hose, or anything that is similar to a hose. For the size, something with a 1” inside diameter will work fine. You will have a tough go of it if you’re using a really thin hose, anything smaller than ½” ID.
You want one hose to be longer than the other. One hose should reach all the way to the bottom of the gas tank, and the other hose only needs to reach a little bit inside the tank. You are basically going to pressurize the inside of the gas tank with the shorter hose so that the gasoline will be sucked upwards through the longer hose.
To siphon gasoline, follow these steps:
1: Feed the longer hose into the gas tank so that it is all the way at the bottom. You will have to feel around a bit for this, but it shouldn’t be too tricky. Put the other end inside the gas canister where you will be transferring the fuel to. Always do one hose at a time so that you don’t forget which one is which.
2: Force the shorter hose inside the gas tank until it is just slightly submerged in gasoline. Also, don’t forget to have the empty gas container with the longer hose fed into directly below the tank or as close to directly below as possible. The goal here is to let gravity to its job.
3: Take a rag or old torn up shirt, or whatever else will work to plug the gaps around the hoses. The idea here is to make the gas tank as much of an air tight environment as possible – the only places where there should be a flow of air is through the two hoses. You need to have a tight seal around the hoses so that no air is getting into the gas tank. You will be creating a pressurized situation in the tank, and so you need as tight a seal as you can get around the entire opening to the gas tank.
If you can’t manage to get a good seal, try dipping your rag in water so that it gets moist (but not dripping wet).
4: With the tank sealed, the next thing you need to do is to blow into the short hose. You want to keep blowing until you’ve created enough pressure that the gasoline is forced to put from the tank, going up the long hose, and with a bit of help from gravity, into your empty gasoline container.
Make sure when you’re blowing into the hose that you don’t breathe in through your mouth or gasp, as you want to avoid gettin a lungful of fumes. If you are having a difficult time getting sufficient pressure, you need to readjust your seal around the hoses.
5: Pretty soon the gas will begin flowing into your empty container on its own. Once the gas is flowing in a steady stream, you can stop blowing and relax. Gravity is now working for you, and the pressure inside the tank is doing the rest.
6: Anytime you want to stop the gasoline from flowing, simply put your thumb over the opening of the long hose and raise it above the gas tank. Then the fuel will drain back into the original tank. You can also remove the seal that you created.
That’s all there is to it. Congratulations, you now know how to siphon gas (in a way that is relatively safe).
Siphoning Gas with a Pump
This method is pretty straightforward. It uses the same science as the previous method, only using a gas siphon pump rather than your own lungs to blow into the tank. You can easily purchase a siphon pump online, but do keep in mind they are labeled often as “liquid transfer” pumps, as calling them gas siphoning pumps might make them appear to be equipment/gear for criminals and thieves.
Some models are mechanic, others require a hand pump, and others are even simpler than that. However, they all function in basically the same way. The best part is that you never expose yourself to dangerous gas fumes, so if you want a full proof option that is both fast and easy (to be used in an emergency or disaster), then getting a gas siphoning kit might make sense for you.
To siphon gas with a pump, follow these simple steps:
1: Insert one end of the siphon pump tubing into your empty gas container and place the container beneath the fuel tank. Place the other end of the tubing inside the tank. You just need to make sure you have the pump facing the right direction, as siphon pumps generally only work in one “direction”. If you place the tubing in wrong, you’ll be pumping air into the tank rather than gas into your container.
2: You will need to follow the directions that came with your pump for actually getting the gas into your container. Every pump is a little different, so you definitely need to follow their instructions. There is not much we can tell you about this part, every piece of equipment is slightly different.
3: When your gas container is nearly full, always raise the end of the hose over the gas tank so that all the leftover gas will drain backwards into the tank.
4: Now that you’re done, you can remove the hose from the tank and make sure it’s empty. You can make a seal around the tubing and your mouth with your hand and give it a sharp blow to clean out any remaining extra gas in the tubing.
5: Finally, clean the pump and the tubes. Just like with any other tool, when you are finished give it a good clean. Soap and water might not be handy, but you can at least wipe it down with a rag or try to rinse it.
How to Siphon Gasoline with Mouth Suction
As stated previously, this is the most dangerous method and should definitely be a last resort. Everything happens very quickly with this method, so you need to be ready for the gas to come gushing into your mouth. Whatever you do, don’t swallow the gas! If you can help it, don’t breathe the gas fumes either. If you feel woozy or dizzy, immediately stop and let yourself recover.
To siphon gas the “old school” way with your mouth (the way that you often see in survival movies or on TV), follow these steps:
1: This method only requires a single hose. Make sure you have your empty container beside you, then feed one end of your hose into the gas tank until it is completely submerged near the bottom. To make sure it’s submerged, blow into the hose until you hear bubbles. If you can hear bubbles then you’re probably good to go.
2: Now suck on the end of your hose or hose to bring the gasoline out of the tank. You want to keep your hand just below where you are sucking so that when the gas comes up you can crimp it. Like we said, this is going to happen fast. You need to be ready.
You should be sucking on the hose with your mouth and not your lungs. Your lungs should not be doing anything, and you should only be sucking with your mouth to create the necessary pressure. This will drastically reduce the chance of you inhaling straight gasoline (or worse, swallowing any of it).
3: If you can, crimp the hose to stop the flow of gas when you see it rising towards your lips. If you don’t crimp it in time, you will get a big mouthful of gasoline. Whichever happens, you need to now drop the end of the hose into your gas container. Gravity will do the rest for you, allowing gas to flow freely from the tank into your container.
If you do end up getting g gas in your mouth, spit it out immediately.
Keep in mind that if you start seeing bubbles inside the hose during the siphoning process, the flow of gravity is broken. You will probably need to start over. However, do not start sucking with gas still in the hose. You need to drain the hose entirely before you can start again. Let the gas flow back into the tank, blow the hose clean and give it a rinse if possible, then start over. Safety should always be paramount when you’re trying to siphon gas with the mouth suction method.
Best Gas Siphoning Kits
These are the best kits on the market for siphoning gasoline. They can siphon anything, actually – water from a well, gas from a piece of machinery, or even beer from a vat or a keg. We highly recommend keeping at least one of these kits with the rest of your survival gear, and possibly another inside your vehicle for any emergency situation that may arise. You never know when a siphon will come in handy.
Gas Tapper Kit
If you want to get serious about siphoning gasoline or any other liquid, this is definitely the kit to have. We highly recommend keeping one of these in your car just for an emergency. For under $100, it is definitely worth it.
Just keep in mind that this is a fairly large kit. It comes in a small orange case and everything. For this reason, it is not the best for portable survival situations if you are on the move. It would be too heavy for a get home bag or bug out. Ag. This kind of kit is just better in your emergency stash of gear, or to have stored in your vehicle.
Click here to see the Gas Tapper Kit
Siphon Pro XL
This is a standard siphoning kit, but it’s enormous. The siphon is 8 feet long, and it is advertised as being the biggest gas siphon currently sold. It has a special jingler to get it started, it comes with a useful user manual, and it has an anti-kink spring for when you are siphoning out of a very deep gas tank.
If you are thinking about something portable, this one probably isn’t great. However, if you want all your bases covered, or if you are looking to siphon gasoline from big trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, this is worth the investment. Big trucks have more gasoline, but they also have deeper tanks. With this hose, you could easily drain a few big trucks in no time and boost your stockpile massively. Alternatively, you can use this hose to drain somebody’s entire auxiliary tank. If you want to be prepared for some kind of extended post apocalyptic scenario, it might make sense to have this kit on hand in your basement. It will give you access to reserves of gasoline that nobody else can tap into fully.
Original Safety Siphon
This is definitely the cheapest and one of the easiest options. This kit is extremely simple, and it even comes with a pair of hoses for your convenience (in case you lose one). It has no bells or whistles, and no fancy features, but it certainly works. It is a simple translucent hose with a pump valve on one end, and it will work for all your siphoning needs.
Because this hose system is so small and light, it isn’t any bother to have it sitting behind your car seat. Why take the risk and not have one? And if you are preparing An INCH bag or BOB with other survival gear – food, supplies, survival equipment, and so forth– this is the best siphon to have stuffed in your bag. It weighs almost nothing, and it can definitely help to get you out of a bind.
A Useful, Simple Survival Skill
Hopefully now you know how to siphon gas. If you’re not sure about the details, you can always practice a few times to get some hands on experience. Obviously, you wouldn’t necessarily want to use gasoline – you can just as easily practice with a large tank of water. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll know for sure that you know how to siphon gas properly (and safely) should the need ever arise.
This is one of those urban survival skills that you can literally learn in an afternoon. It’s easy to learn, doesn’t really take any specialized equipment (unless you get one of the gas sipon kits), and it could prove extremely useful if we ever see a true SHTF moment.
(If you’re not familiar with the survival terminology, learn more about what SHTF means and other survival terms here)
So what are you waiting for? Go out there and try it so you can have confidence that you know how to siphon gas if you ever encounter a disaster or emergency that calls for it.