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How Long Can Diesel Fuel Sit in a Tank?

by Jae Chapman

Farmers and construction crews, among others, often need to keep diesel fuel in a storage tank. However, diesel fuel properties change over time. Proper storage of diesel fuel is essential for its future use.

Time Frame

Diesel fuel can be stored for 6 months to 1 year when stored properly at normal temperature conditions.


Conventional diesel fuel, also called No. 2 Fuel, has the most stable properties, but diesel is available in blends with biodiesel, which has up to 99 percent biodiesel. According to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, as the diesel blend contains more biodiesel, it becomes more sensitive to cold weather and loses shelf life.


British Petroleum cautions that zinc and copper will react with diesel fuel, changing its properties. Water and high temperatures also make diesel fuel less stable.


Only store diesel in tanks specially designed for that purpose, made of non-reactive materials. Be sure to limit water in diesel fuel tanks and drain tanks often. Ensure tanks are tightly closed and protected from dust and debris.

About the Author

Jae Chapman is a sustainability enthusiast who has been writing since 2006. She writes for various websites with a focus on the environment, food, fitness, computer software and other practical topics. She holds a Master of Science in engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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  • old diesel tank image by charles taylor from