We all have read the stories from our favorite post-apocalyptic authors where our hero has stored a huge amount of fuel for his or her vehicles in a facility. To keep warm in the winter, scout in the 4×4, looking for marauders, fueling the generator while a snowstorm outside roars without mercy.
Very romantic. As much as we can enjoy this idea, reality is way different these days. Truth is hard, as most of them are: we can´t store enough fuel for as long as we would like to.
The reality of storing fuel
No matter if it is diesel or gasoline or some sort of gasified product coming from an industrial facility. It´s economically very hard to do, and those who want to go down that path will find themselves at the end of the day with a huge empty tank they invested a fortune on. A quick calculation will show this to anyone. Sure, some people with the best of intentions will comment below their experiences using four or five years old fuel in some far away Alaskan forest to refill the snow motorcycle and run away from a furious gang of bears in the last second. But it´s something different to the scope of this writing.
Fellows, using fuel too old without proper storage conditions will have a devastating effect on any engine in the medium term. If your heating system relies on one of these engines, THEN you´ll be in trouble when it decides to fail at the worst possible moment.
But we already should know it won´t last for too long if a real disaster stops production everywhere. A couple of years, maybe? If you're planning for this short term and believe that some sort of fuel will be available afterward, it's your call if you still need to store it.
Just be aware of what happens when you are surrounded by people and have something valuable. I wrote of it here: Venezuela: Thieves, Fuel Shortages, Hunger, and the Black Market
After two years, most of the fuel will have gone rancid if it wasn't stabilized, will be consumed or won´t exist if the catastrophic event that led to the production stopping was large enough.
Politics could play a part in this, too.
Unless someone owns a refinery and wells, production pipes and the money to pay for the specialized professionals to operate it for the next 50 or 60 years, and train the next generation of refinery workers, fuel and other derivatives for internal combustion engines, or ICEs, could become a rarity. Politicians are already, with or without reasonable motifs, working actively in the forbidding of manufacturing new ICEs in Europe. Mind you, if someone 30 years ago someone would have told you, "Cable TV is no longer going to exist" you would have laughed in his face. I see the cable TV companies around here mutating. They´ve all switched to Internet access via optics fiber service.