When Crisis Strikes: How To Siphon Gas Easily

empty gas tank

You never know when an emergency or survival situation might pop up and you need to know how to siphon gas. It's a job that is much easier if you have a siphon pump.

Let's be honest...

We live in a time where our infrastructure runs on fossil fuels.

This is especially true of our reliance on gasoline to fuel the majority of our transportation and generators.

Because of this...

In times of emergencies, it is crucial to understand how to retrieve gasoline from tanks in order to keep the lights on and the truck moving.

Obviously, you would only resort to taking gas from older vehicles or other private tanks in extreme circumstances of survival.

Here's the thing:

Siphoning gas should be for emergency situations only or for transferring your own gas. It is never right to steal gas from anyone.

For survival and emergency purposes, in this article we will look at several methods of how to syphon gas. We will also recommend some pumps you can get for your survival kit.

Warning: Gasoline is highly flammable and dangerous. It is also toxic and can be fatal if you breathe it in, get it in your mouth, or swallow it. Be careful. Your safety is your responsibility. Do not attempt siphoning unless you are an adult.

Disclosure:   Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How Siphoning Works

Before we go into details of siphoning gas it might help to understand the mechanisms behind the process. Let's answer the question how does a siphon work.

A siphon is simply a piece of tubing that can be used to move liquid from higher to lower levels and has a characteristic upside down U-shape.

In our case the liquid is gasoline and it is being moved from a tank to some collection container.

Simply putting a siphon into the tank does not cause liquid to flow out. We must prime the siphon, which means getting the air out of the tube.

This works by drawing liquid into the siphon so that the correct liquid pressure is generated.

Once the liquid passes the highest point of the siphon, gravity takes over. For a siphon to work, the liquid must end up at a lower level than the reservoir it is being taken from.

All the methods we will discuss follow these concepts. The only difference between them is how the siphon is primed.

Mouth Siphoning

This is one of the more well known, but dangerous methods of siphoning.

In fact, it is so dangerous that we decided not to cover the details here out of concern for your safety.

You see, many people try to syphon gas with this method each year and because it is so risky, they end up inhaling gas into their lungs or getting it into their mouth and swallowing it.

Gasoline poisoning can be fatal or lead to severe health problems.

Because of the dangers involved, we do not recommend this method. Consider using other options where you are not risking your health.

Pressure Siphoning

In this method you utilize a different method to prime the pump. To prime it, you need to increase the air pressure within the tank.

As the pressure rises in the tank, this will cause the gasoline to move into the siphon.

This method isn't near as dangerous as the mouth siphoning method, but you still need to be careful not to inhale gas or get it in your mouth.

Here are the steps:

  1. You will need two pieces of tubing. One several feet long that will act as your siphon and a shorter tube that is 2 feet in length that will be used to increase the air pressure within the tank.
  2. Insert both tubes into the tank. The siphon needs to extend way down into the tank. It needs to go deep enough to be well below the level of gas in the tank. The shorter tube should only be inserted into the tank about 2 inches or less.
  3. You will need to create an airtight seal around the opening to the gas tank to maintain the increased air pressure. You can do this by taking a damp cloth and wrapping it around the tubing at the opening of the gas tank.
  4. Being careful not to inhale gas, now blow air into the tank through the short piece of tubing.
  5. Continue to blow air in until you see the gasoline begin to flow freely into your container. Gravity has taken over and you no longer need to continue pushing air into the tank. If you are having trouble, check and make sure you have a good seal around the opening to the tank.
  6. When you have gathered the desired amount of gasoline, lift the container above the level of the gas tank, remove your rag seal, and the flow will be reversed in the siphon.

Pump Siphoning

This method of siphoning is where you use a pump to prime the siphon.

Pumps will not break the bank and also allow you to siphon off much more gas at a quicker pace than the previous two methods.

These pumps can range from hand pumps to automatic pumps that only require you to flip a switch.

Before we go through the steps, it is important to note that most of these pumps are oriented such that specific ends should be inserted into the tank.

  1. Insert the siphon with the correct orientation into the tank with the opposite end placed in your collection container.
  2. Depending on the type of pump you have purchased, either squeeze the bulb/plunger several times until the siphon has been primed and gravity takes over or flip the switch to on…
  3. You will need to pay attention to the automatic pumps for instructions after the siphon has been primed. Some require you to switch the pump off.
  4. Like the previous methods, when you have accumulated the desired amount, lift your container to a level above the gas tank and the gasoline will reverse flow in the siphon.

Siphon Pump

The easiest method by far is to use a gas siphon pump. They are pretty cheap, so it makes sense to have one for your home in case you need it.

Terapump TRDP14

trdp14 siphon

As far as pricing versus functionality goes, the best bang for the buck is the TRDP14.

It is a simple manually squeeze bulb pump that gets the job done, which makes it a hand siphon pump.

The siphon hose is 15.3 inches long, which gives you a lot of versatility. The target tank tube is 21.2 inches long.

The quality is also very good for such a low price. This is definitely an item that you should have available.

Terapump TRDP15

trdp15 siphon

If you are looking for a little higher quality, then the next step up is the TRDP15.

This one is much more heavy duty if you need to be using it more frequently. The syphon pump is a little more robust.

It also has a 16.5 inch siphon hose, so it's a little bit longer.

The target tank tube on this one is 26.5 inches long, making the job much easier.

 Gastapper Standard

gastapper standard

If you want an electric pump that will last a long time, then the Gastapper Standard is the kit you should get.

It runs off a 12 Volt lighter plug that you can hook up to your vehicle.

Technically, this unit is an actual transfer pump instead of a electric siphon pump, so it will make the job much easier.

There are many great features with this kit, including an inline filter that will help pull out any small debris that might find its way in a tank.

Some Final Thoughts

Before we wrap everything up there are several points we need to discuss. The first thing is that most newer model cars have been built to prevent siphoning.

There are survival siphoning kits that are designed to circumvent these theft precautions and home kits can be designed as well.

The second point is that gasoline left in the tanks of cars will not be viable forever. In the best-case scenario it might be usable up to a year of sitting idle.

In dire circumstances, understanding how to syphon gas safely is extremely beneficial and a critical skill.

Hopefully this article has given you a good understanding of several methods that can be used to safely siphon fuel.

Another thing to always have in your vehicle or garage is jumper cables. Check out the best options here.

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