It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, your age, your political views or you’re income level –
Running out of gas sucks – BIG TIME.
It’s one of the most helpless and miserable feelings you can ever experience.
And if running out of gas is bad enough, running out in the middle of nowhere is even worse.
Becoming stranded in the boondocks, where there’s not a gas station for miles.
And this is during normal times, what about in widespread emergencies?
Those events when gas stations are dry as a bone.
Who knows, maybe stations won’t always be a luxury our society has access to forever…
For these reasons, it makes sense to learn how to siphon an essential resource like gas.
Scrounging up gasoline without a Conoco or Shell station is a skill worth learning.
Actually, there are many more reasons why it’s an important skill to learn (and we’ll get into all those in due time).
But generally, when you need gas and theirs no gas pump nearby, siphoning it from another vehicle is next best bet.
No, it won’t always be legal.
But it’s a skill that could save your bacon in more ways than one.
However, siphoning gas is NOT a skill most people can “figure out” on the fly.
But, in fact, it requires a bit of know-how of how and practice.
You need to understand basic fluid physics and be able to obtain a handful of essential materials.
The good news is, once you’ve done it a few times, it’s a skill that you’ll never forget – a lot like riding a bike.
Which is what this guide is for – it’s a “how to” cheat sheet, of sorts.
A quick and dirty guide that provides the tips and tricks necessary to suck the gas out of other vehicles.
Here are the topics we will be covering in detail:
- Quick Note: Don’t Use For Evil
- How Siphoning Gas Works (The Science Behind It)
- 3 Methods On How To Siphon Gas
- Best Gas Siphoning Kits On The Market
- When And Why You Might Need To Siphon Gas
QUICK NOTE: DON’T USE FOR EVIL
The only thing I ask, is that you, the reader, use this guide for good, instead of evil.
This is powerful knowledge. In the wrong hands, can be used for sinister purposes…
Which is an excellent way of saying, don’t go around siphoning your friends’ and neighbors’ gas tanks, just for fun.
Don’t be a cheap-ass who doesn’t pay for your own fuel during normal circumstances.
That is what we call “parasitic petty criminality” – and there’s no honor in it.
That being said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty business of siphoning fuel.
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HOW SIPHONING WORKS (The Science Behind It)
Instead of droning on and on about siphoning physics, it way easier to just watch the following short video.
This video will give you a basic understanding of how and why siphoning works.
Sure you can get away without learning this stuff.
But you’ll be better equipped to siphon successfully in all sorts of unique circumstances if you do.
3 METHODS ON HOW TO SIPHON GAS
There are various methods for siphoning gas.
They all technically work, but some are more efficient, easier and better on your health than others.
So, there are advantages and disadvantages to different methods.
We’ll cover the best (our most recommended) method first and our “last resort” method last.
Method 1: Using A Gas Siphon Pump (safest / easiest method)
For this method, you’ll need a siphon pump and a receptacle.
There are several siphon pump options you can buy. Some are extremely affordable but pretty basic while others cost a few more dollars but have some extremely helpful features.
Note: In the next section of this article we highlight the best siphon pump kits money can buy. So make sure to check those out as well.
Step 1 – Situate the receptacle on the ground below the gas tank.
Step 2 – Insert both ends of the siphon pump tube into the gas tank and into the receptacle respectively.
Make sure to check your siphon pump. Because many pumps come with specific ends – one for the tank and one for the receptacle.
If you do not get the right end in the right place, you are just going to be blowing air into the tank.
Step 3 – Start pumping.
Siphon pumps come in lots of different shapes and styles. Some are plungers, some are bulbs you squeeze with your hand.
Regardless, once you start pumping, gas will start flowing.
Step 4 – When you have got the gasoline you need, stop pumping.
Now raise the end of the siphon above the gas tank to stop the flow and return any excess gas into the tank.
Here’s a video using a simple hand pump siphon – make sure to check out all the other siphon kits options we cover later in this article as well.
Side Note: Anti Siphon / Anti Leak Technology
Most newer cars are built with emergency anti-leak technology. This prevents fires in the event of a crash or rollover.
This is a nice feature in general but it’s a pain in the butt when you need to siphon gas.
There are ways around this, though.
Some anti-siphoning mechanisms can be bypassed using a screwdriver. You can sometimes hold them open while you insert the tube into the tank.
But you should be extremely cautious not to damage your vehicle’s fuel tank in the process.
Other techniques require you to use a smaller tube for siphoning. A smaller tube may subvert the ball-lock or butterfly mechanism.
This is doable but slows the process down immensely.
A 1-inch siphon tube can move approximately one gallon every two minutes. But, a ¼ inch tube does the same in eight minutes.
So as you can tell, some cars are also better for siphoning gas out of than others.
In general, older cars have less technology so they will be easier siphoning.
Method 2: Add Air Pressure To The Tank
You’ll need two lengths of 1-inch diameter tubing (one long and one short), a gas receptacle, a wet cloth.
Step 1 – This method is a lot safer than the mouth siphoning (covered next).
Because it uses air pressure to force the gasoline out of the tank instead of your lung power.
First, feed the extended length of tube into the gas tank until it’s submerged in gasoline. Again, blow into it and listen for bubbles.
Step 2 – Insert the smaller length of tube into the gas tank alongside the long one.
Now use the cloth to seal the space around/between them.
The seal should be as airtight as possible, which is why it is helpful to use a wet rag instead of a dry one.
Step 3 – Place the receptacle on the ground (lower than the gas tank) and feed the other end of the long tube into it.
Step 4 – Blow air into the short tube to increase the air pressure inside of the tank.
Try to blow with your mouth and not your lungs, to minimize the risk of inhaling gasoline.
Step 5 – Watch the longer tube for flow.
As you blow air into the tank, the pressure should force gasoline out of the other tube and into your receptacle.
Step 6 – When you want to stop, remove the long end from your receptacle and place your thumb over the end to stop the flow.
Lift the tube above your head, release your thumb and let gravity pull the remaining gas back into the tank.
Method 3: Mouth Siphoning (worst case / last resort)
The only tools you need is a length of 1-inch diameter clear tubing and a gas receptacle.
This is the old school version of gas siphoning, and it is, by far, the worst method for you.
Because it requires one to use their own mouth (instead of a pump) to draw the gasoline up and out of the tank.
The reason this is bad for you? Gas poisoning.
It really happens to people, and it’s not hard to do to yourself when you’re sucking gasoline out of a tank through a “straw.”
This method should be a last resort.
You need to be extremely cautious not to swallow or inhale a bunch of gas in the process.
Step 1 – Feed one end of the tube deep into the gas tank, so it’s submerged in the gasoline.
To test this, blow into the tube – when you can hear bubbles, you’re good to go.
Step 2 – Place the gas receptacle (below the gas tank height) on the ground.
If the receptacle is above the tank, gravity won’t work on your side, and you won’t be able to get gas out of the car.
Step 3 – Suck on the end of the tube to draw the gasoline up and out of the tank.
Hold your hand just below the tip where you are sucking so you can crimp it when the gas comes up.
Note: This happens fast, so be alert and ready, you’ve been warned!
Suck on the tube with your mouth instead of your lungs (like smoking a cigar versus smoking a cigarette).
This helps to minimize the threat of inhaling gasoline.
Step 4 – When the gas is six inches from where you are holding the tube, crimp it quickly to stop the gas flow.
Step 5 – Place the end you were just sucking on into the receptacle let go of the crimp and let gravity do its thing.
Gas should flow out of the tank, through the tube and into the receptacle.
Step 6 – Keep an eye out for bubbles in the tubing.
This is a major pain when siphoning gas, but its one that you are likely going to have to deal with.
If you see start seeing bubbles, the gravity flow is broken, and it’s about to lose your siphon.
Don’t try and suck the excess air out – you will inhale the gas.
Instead, drain the gas back into the car and try again until it works correctly.
Step 7 – When you’ve reached the desired amount of gasoline in the receptacle, remove the end of the tube in the gas tank.
This will cut off the flow of gasoline.
Again, this is NOT a method I recommend. Here’s an example of what can happen with this method:
**If you happen to inhale or swallow gas, contact poison control immediately.
Obviously, if you’re in the remote wilderness this is not possible. Making this method potentially life-threatening – you’ve been warned!
BEST GAS SIPHONING KITS ON THE MARKET
Buying a gas siphoning kit is a great way to round off your vehicle’s emergency gear.
Of course, you can always put together your own emergency gas siphoning kit.
Just go to the hardware store and purchasing the necessary materials.
But most of these commercial options come with either a hand pump or an electric pump.
These make siphoning gas a lot easier and a lot safer.
Gas Tapper Kit
This is the professional version of the siphon kit.
This one costs more than most kits (which we’ll cover shortly) but with that expense comes a lot of extra features.
For example, this gas tapper kit makes bypassing the anti-leak / anti- siphon technology a breeze.
Other less expensive kits don’t provide any assistance in this department.
So you can think of this gas siphon kit as future proof, as more and more cars have this technology.
And every year less older vehicles without it are lost.
So if you’re serious about learning how to siphon gas today and in the future, this is a worthwhile investment.
Watch the following video to see how Gas Tapper easily gets around anti-siphon valves.
ABN Siphon Kit
This siphon pump is cheap, easy to use and effective.
It’s no wonder this is one of the best siphon kits.
- two 51” hoses
- a 24” oil siphon tube
- a 16” air pressure tube with snap-shut valve connectors and inflation valves
This siphon kit can be used to siphon water or oil or gasoline out of a vehicle.
The added hand pump makes a complicated and often slow process, easy.
And at this price, it’s an extremely affordable option.
Gas Tapper Siphon Pro XL
Advertised as the largest gas siphon sold on American markets today.
This kit can siphon up to 4 gallons per minute!
At 8 feet in length this siphon comes with:
- an anti-kink spring, a universal hose clip
- a “jiggler” to get the siphon started
- a user’s manual.
Original Safety Siphon
This is a very basic kit but sometimes going simple is the way to go (K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid).
It’s just a clear hose with a simple pump valve on the end.
No bells, no whistles, no fuss.
How To Use:
- Before using, drain all liquid from the hose.
- The end of the tube must be lower than the pump before siphoning will start.
- Submerge pump into the liquid that is to be siphoned.
- Move the pump vigorously in an up and down motion. It is important the pump remain in the liquid at all times to start the siphoning. Once the flow starts, stop moving or shaking the pump as gravity will maintain the flow of the liquid. Once siphoning starts, keep the pump submerged in liquid.
- To stop siphoning, remove the pump from the liquid.
- Drain all liquid from the hose and clean thoroughly.
- Store in a cool, dry place.
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WHEN AND WHY YOU MIGHT NEED TO SIPHON GAS
Siphoning gas is a survival skill; however, it’s not exclusive to survival circumstances.
People siphon gas every single damn day, in every state nationwide.
And they do it for a multiplicity of reasons.
Reasons that run the gamut from innocent and innocuous, to deranged and criminal.
Here are a few common ones:
Out Of Gas In The Middle Of Nowhere
This is the most common reason people siphon gas out of another vehicle.
Maybe you’re driving through a remote desert, hundreds of miles from any gas station.
Or perhaps you’re rock crawling in the backcountry, and you run dry, sputtering to a stop on the side of the road.
What do you do? Well, you wait…
Wait for another car to come along, flag them down and then (if you know how to) politely ask to siphon.
Someone will be OK if you siphon off a small bit of their gas. We’re talking just enough to get you to the next gas pump.
I know I’d be OK with it in a survival circumstance like this. I’d give them one hell of a hard time for not planning properly.
But I wouldn’t leave them stranded.
If you are like me and you live in a place where it can get bitter cold in the dead of winter. You should absolutely know how to siphon gas.
Some gasoline engines can act strangely in extremely cold conditions.
The gasoline doesn’t vaporize properly.
And, believe it or not, in the most extreme cold temperatures gasoline can actually freeze!
That’s why siphoning is smart when preparing to store a vehicle for harsh winters.
That’s because it’s wise to siphon gas out of the vehicles that will stay store outside for any length of time.
Empty those puppies out so you can fill them and use them when you need to.
This doesn’t just go for cars or trucks either, this is useful for lawn mowers that are stored in unheated sheds over the winter.
Say your lawn mower, or your chainsaw, or even one of your car runs out of gas, but you’ve still got a full tank in another vehicle.
Don’t make a trip all the way back to the gas station to refuel.
Instead, siphon gas out a bit of the gas from the fuel tank you currently have access to.
Your full vehicle storage tank can act as a backup fuel canister if you know how to siphon.
In a mad-max post-apocalyptic wasteland, roadways will be littered with abandoned vehicles.
Many of them will still have some fuel left in the bottom of the tank.
If you are driving around this world-gone-mad and happen to run low on fuel, siphon that liquid gold.
Fuel might be the most precious future resource man has ever known.
So store up some extra fuel today and learn how to siphon gas for tomorrow.
Being A Petty Criminal
Sure, if you want to, you can go around under cover of darkness, siphoning gas out of other people’s cars.
All in the name of saving a few dollars.
But that’s an a-hole move; don’t be an a-hole.
I suppose it’s technically a “reason” but it’s not a good one.
I hesitated to even add this “reason” to the list but felt obligated to do so in or to be thorough.
If you’re siphoning gas to save a few bucks, shame on you.
THE FINAL WORD
Knowing how to siphon gas is an essential survival skill.
Plus, it’s a useful skill for roadside emergencies.
Not just for petty crime.
Every survivalist, outdoorsman, mechanic, and driver should learn to know how to do it.
And if you really want to be extra prepared, you should get your hands on a commercial siphon kit.
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