When Brad Hunter saw the fuel price drop below 80 cents a litre for e10, he recognised an opportunity to score a bargain.
The Brisbane reporter at the Australian Traffic Network filled up his scooter, his car, a 10-litre fuel can, and another three 5-litre cans as well.
He is not the only one who saw dollar signs and potential savings when looking at the fuel price.
RACQ’s head of technical and safety policy Steve Spalding said there were always reports of people stockpiling at servos when the price was low.
“It’s not unusual when the price cycles reach their low point. People do stock up on it,” he said.
Mr Spalding said the last time fuel dropped below $1 a litre in Queensland was in 2005.
But this week some servos across Brisbane were selling unleaded petrol as low as 79.9 cents a litre with an average of 88.5 cents around the city — prices that had not been seen for “several decades”.
However, stocking up on fuel is not the same as stocking up on other essential items like toilet paper.
“Storing fuel is not good practice, it does have a [shelf] life,” Mr Spalding said.
Fuel shelf life suffers at home
Mr Spalding said fuel stored in wholesale storage-controlled environments generally lasted around 12 months.
But the shelf life deteriorated fairly quickly at home.
“Once it reaches the fuel tanks in equipment like garden lawn mowers, it lasts for about one month,” Mr Spalding said.
Fuel company BP suggests that once the seal of a petrol container is broken the fuel had a “storage life of six months at 20 degrees Celsius or three months at 30 degrees Celsius”.
In comparison, the shelf life of potatoes is between two and four months.
What can go wrong?
Mr Spalding said fuel became “less volatile and was less able to do its job” as time passed.
So remember the time you wanted to mow the lawn, but the mower wouldn’t start?
Mr Spalding said fuel stored in a shed for a while caused “a lot of trouble when trying to start a mower”.
Are there restrictions on stockpiling?
Mr Spalding said he was not aware of any laws against stockpiling fuel.
However, when it came to transporting fuel, there was a limit of 250 litres and there were Australian standards for storage.
“Fuel has to be stored in the red container, or one marked specifically for use with the petrol colour code for unleaded,” he said.
“It is olive green for diesel.”
He also had some final advice for those trying to get extra savings by buying e10 fuel instead of regular unleaded.
“Generally you wouldn’t put ethanol-blended fuels in motorcycles or garden equipment,” he said.
“In most garden equipment it will make the thing run like crap.”
Extracted from ABC