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Extra Fuel is a safe petrol reserve to keep you motoring

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October 15, 2012

Extra Fuel provides motorists with fuel to prevent stranding (Photo: Shutterstock)

Extra Fuel provides motorists with fuel to prevent stranding (Photo: Shutterstock)

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If you live in the country or take long road trips, having the fuel light start flashing when you’re miles from anywhere can be a white-knuckle event. It’s tempting to carry a can of extra fuel in the boot for such emergencies, but gasoline is extremely flammable and vents off dangerous gases if it gets warm, so it’s not exactly a safe option. Extra Fuel is an alternative to conventional gasoline that will run any petrol engine, yet is safe to take along.

Extra Fuel is designed to be safe – not because of what is in it, but what isn't. The reason why gasoline is so dangerous to keep stored in a car is because it isn't one simple chemical. It’s a mixture of organic compounds and some of them, such as butane, pentane, hexane and heptane, are extremely volatile. They vaporize at relatively low temperatures and if stored in a vehicle on a hot day they can pop the vent on a storage can and fill the car with dangerous, flammable fumes.

Made by Extra Fuel LLC, Extra Fuel is gasoline without these volatiles. It will still burn in any petrol engine, giving the same mileage, and has an octane rating of 91, but is much harder to set alight unless exposed to an open spark or flame. Because of this, the United States National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA) and a Department of Transportation (DOT) have rated Extra Fuel as Combustible instead of Inflammable.

Extra Fuel boasts a 10-year shelf (or boot) life

Without the volatiles, the product produces “less pressure than a container of orange juice when exposed to high temperatures.” It also has a 10-year shelf life because, unlike conventional gasoline, it has no olefin, which breaks down into gum in improperly stored fuel.

According to the makers, Extra Fuel works by forcing the residual gasoline in the tank into the fuel line so the engine can start. The Extra Fuel then runs the engine. The lack of volatiles seems to make it dependent on the residual fuel to get the engine going, which may be a drawback if the tank is really empty. Also, at US$19.99 for a one-half gallon (1.89 liter) bottle it’s ten times as expensive as buying fuel at the pump in the United States, so it’s not exactly economical. But for peace of mind, it might just be worth the investment.

Source: Extra Fuel via Lifehacker

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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10 Comments

I use a fuel container that is fully capable of containing the presser and keep it out of the sun.

Pikeman
15th October, 2012 @ 09:12 pm PDT

So, I'm expected to pay four times the going price for fuel that my car won't even start on? Thanks but no, thanks.

I see no benefit to this---if you carry a properly vetted container of regular fuel in your trunk, it will do the job much better.

Freederick
16th October, 2012 @ 03:24 am PDT

If you keep an eye on your gas gage and fill up when low you won't need this. Never ran out of gas in 40 years of driving.

Ct
16th October, 2012 @ 05:43 am PDT

most gas engines will run on diesel, but they won't start on it.

andyt
16th October, 2012 @ 06:07 am PDT

Why won't it start the engine? Why is it ten times the price? Why don't they make an engine that will start on this gas and reduce the risk of explosions?

voluntaryist
16th October, 2012 @ 11:34 am PDT

If you're carrying this as a backup, it would be best to put it in the tank BEFORE the fuel level drops below where the pump can pick it up.

That way it'll mix with the easier to light gasoline.

'Course if your car only gets 20 MPG and you're 40 miles from the nearest gas station, a gallon of Extra Fuel won't do you much good.

Gregg Eshelman
16th October, 2012 @ 12:51 pm PDT

I haven't owned a gasoline powered car since 1990.

We diesel operators pity you.

nutcase
16th October, 2012 @ 07:01 pm PDT

public transit - cheaper safer more secure, obviates the need! Chinese workers ride electric bullet trains for much less than the cost of running a gasoline engined rubber wheeled automobile - leaving them more "disposable income" each pay period. In effect: the have more to spend and much less to worry about.

Bruce Miller
17th October, 2012 @ 04:46 am PDT

-Butanol will do every thing touted here, I would be amazed if its price was over $7 a gal.

Allen Lumley
19th October, 2012 @ 06:57 pm PDT

I use pure ethanol for similar purposes. It can safely increase the usable volume of fuel in your tank, works well for removing water from the fuel system, and doesn't adversely affect the operation of the engine.

And when you get down to the last 40 ml or so of ethanol you mix it 50/50 with water and drink the resultant vodka and stop worrying about being out of petrol!

Having said that, I have no living memory of ever being out of petrol.

sleat
23rd October, 2012 @ 04:03 am PDT
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