How Long Can Diesel Fuel Sit in a Tank?

by Jae Chapman
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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.

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