handy travel-size container

"Joe Stevens, of Mobile, Alabama, fills his 1,500 gallon gasoline tank after waiting for approximately one hour in line at a Shell gas station along Interstate 10 in Mobile, Alabama August 30, 2005. REUTERS/Frank Polich"

This has to be a gag. If there's an hour long line for gas and this guy pulls up, the people behind him would have lynched him. Also, that's over $4K worth of gas that would take at least seven hours to get out of any gas pump I've ever used. And how much gas does a typical gas station have?

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28 Responses:

  1. gfish says:

    I like that he also has a couple of 3 gallon containers in the back of the pickup. That's being prepared.

  2. mackys says:

    For hypothetical purposes, then, let's say that the average tank capacity in the ground prior to 1989 was 4,000 gallons (20% less than the average reflected by STI statistics to accommodate the probability that older tanks were smaller). Two million tanks multiplied by a 4,000-gallon average tank capacity yields a total of 8 billion gallons of regulated capacity at the start of the EPA program. Let's also say that the average tank size in the ground today is 8,000 gallons.


    I'm sure these numbers aren't precisely correct, but they are probably ballpark. So filling up a 1500 gallon tank is certainly possible. The same article says that 8 gpm is about an average pumping rate. So the guy will be there for a good three hours and change.

    On a personal note, I helped someone push their car the last thirty feet to the pump a couple of days ago. Welcome back to the OPEC crisis of the 70s everyone!! Hahaha. (If things really get that bad, I'm going to put three ten-gallon gas cans in the trunk of my little honda hatchback. Its tank is only 11 gallons, and I never run it dry, so I should have three full fillups in reserve at all times. Any time I go to a pump I'll fill up the tank and all the reserve cans.)

    • relaxing says:

      Just don't get rear-ended!

    • nichiyume says:

      Oh thats nothing, we do that every summer here in Phoenix, and there are no natural disasters to speak of.

      With the speculation of a 20 cent price increase and the fact that we have a Phoenix only blend, the pipelines are old and underused the hording begins and gas shortages are now being reported throughout the valley of the sun.

    • rodgerd says:

      It's got to the point where there have been ruminations of the topic of ressurecting the carless days of the 70s here in New Zealand.

  3. bodyfour says:

    I wonder if that trailer is rated for 13000 pounds of fuel (plus the weight of the tank, of course)

    • roninspoon says:

      Yeah, he might be able to get the tank filled up, but there's no way the wood floor of that trailer is going to hold the weight.

  4. drbrain says:

    A single tank trailer holds 6000 to 9000 gallons (according to a website selling used tank trailers).

    The last time I saw underground gasoline tanks get replaced, I would guess that the tank volume was between 15,000 and 20,000 gallons, for all grades of gasoline and diesel.

    This seems to logically fit with weekly gasoline delivery. (Guestimating from pictures, most of the gasoline trucks I see look like a ~5000 gallon tank truck and a ~9000 gallon tank trailer.)

  5. Never mind the safety regulations regarding dragging 3,000 gallons of highly flammable liquid through the streets.

    • king_mob says:

      I dunno how crazy they're going right now for enforcing safety regulations. It seems like a decent way to nab a Darwin award, though. All you'd have to do is pull up in traffic next to a smoker in a convertible...

  6. Every gas station I've been to in Canada has little stickers on the pumps saying, "Management reserves the right to limit gasoline purchases to retail quantities." I'm willing to bet they're putting those stickers on the pumps at that particular station as we speak, assuming the caption's legit.

  7. Nevermind the safety etc. hazards of dragging 1500 gallons of fuel down the street in a wood-bottomed trailer, Mobile Alabama is looking awfully clear and dry given the absolute hell that passed through there 24 hours previously.

  8. mark242 says:

    You have to admit, it's a pretty brilliant idea of that guy to strip the gas tank off an H2 to use for his house.

  9. pavel_lishin says:

    I'm imagining that tank floating down some flooded town, with that guy on top of it, eating a baloney sandwich.

  10. lars_larsen says:

    What I want to know, is why does he have several gas cans in the bed of the pickup towing the tank. Is 1500 gallons not enough?

  11. jered says:

    Agreed that this is either performance art, or a moron. The latter for the reasons that you point out (time, anger), and also that he's getting ripped off. Small consumers (i.e. you and me) who want to buy hundreds to thousands of gallons of gasoline can do so at a substantial discount through aggregators such as PriceEnergy. (Because the Internet was designed specifically for individuals to get collective bargaining rates for fuel delivered to their home, of course!)

  12. arn says:

    Admitedly, I live in New Zealand, but our petrol pumps don't take that long. Max 60 litres per minute. Which would mean he'd be done in less than 2 hours.

    Then again, if it was diesel, it would be less than an hour. Gotta love high speed diesel pumps!

    And how much gas does an average station have? I work at a very busy service station, and we have three 40000 litre tanks, for 91 and 98 octane petrol and diesel.


  13. vxo says:

    Here in Miami, there's been a crackdown on people going around with cargo vans with high-capacity tanks hidden in the bottom. Basically, they've been stealing credit card info, and using it to purchase some amount of gas at each of a number of gas stations. That goes into the hidden tank, which is usually 55-500 gallons, and has a pump rigged up to get it back out again for whoever they sell the load to.

    Actual gas stations have been known to purchase the stolen gas from those trucks.

    The crackdown (running at an absolute snail's pace) is an effort to prevent a good chunk of exurbia from being blown up by one of these trucks should an accident occur. Some of the trucks have used some very inappropriate pumps and wiring to control the delivery system - open-air brush motor pumps, for instance.

    In short, "Zeeky boogy doog".

    • king_mob says:

      Here in Miami,

      Well, as long as it's confined to a third-world country. It'd be scary if that shit started happening in America.

  14. rosefox says:

    Guess he gave up on using airplane fuel.

  15. mudpup says:

    From way out here in the boondocks everyone I know that has a large storage tank. Fills at the coop; where you do not have to pay road use tax. Anyone with a brain and money to fill a tank as large as the one in the photo would pick up the phone and have the fuel delivered.

  16. jkonrath says:

    I don't know how he's doing this, because most modern gas pumps (i.e. one that takes a credit card) have an upper limit shutoff, and will stop pumping after like $45 or $50 dollars. That means like 80-90 repetitions of "stop, shut off the nozzle, turn off the switch on the pump, put in the card again, press two or three buttons again, turn on the switch on the pump again, and start the nozzle again". I think after about the 7th time I would freak the fuck out, drive my truck off a cliff, and buy a bike.

    • owen says:

      This can't be right. A Chevy Suburban has a 37 gallon gas tank. At ~$3 a gallon for gas in some places, you're talking $111 to fill the tank. I guess maybe you could be forced to fill it twice, but a $45 gas buying limit seems low in these SUV-laden times.

  17. stenz says:

    I'm not sure how much it continues on to the left of the frame, but that container looks a bit small for 1,500 gallons.
    Maybe I'm just bad at visually estimating volume with incomplete information, but I would have guessed closer to 200-300 gallons in that thing.