An electric generator is critical in times of emergency. When there is a power outage as a result of a disaster, it may be a long time before electricity is restored. Take the case of Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria. The power supply for the entire island was interrupted for a full two months.
While having a generator is the first step, you will need fuel to power the generator. Before purchasing a generator, consider what type of fuel that it uses, and ensure that the fuel will be available in your area. Different fuel types have different prices, availability, and storage requirements, depending on where you are located.
Here’s a closer look at generators and the fuel they use:
- Gasoline – Gas-powered generators are advantageous in most places because gasoline is relatively cheap and readily available. However, in the event of a major disaster like what happened in Puerto Rico, even gasoline may be in short supply. Storing large quantities of gasoline may not be a good idea because it only has a shelf life of one year. In addition, gasoline is highly flammable, so it could be dangerous when stored near homes.
- Diesel – Diesel generators are popular because they are more efficient than gas-powered generators. A diesel generator is the least expensive type of generator and the easiest to operate and maintain. Diesel is safer to store than gasoline because it is less flammable. It has a shelf life of 1.5 to 2 years.
- Natural gas – A generator that runs on natural gas can easily be hooked up to the local utility grid, so there is no need to store fuel. A natural gas generator will not work, however, if you live in an area where you cannot access the local grid.
- Propane – Propane gas has an indefinite shelf life, so it is a great choice for long-term storage. It is also a clean-burning fuel that runs very quietly. The drawback here is that the cost of installing and storing propane tanks for large operations can be prohibitive.
Choose your generator based on the fuel type that will be accessible when you need it.