Spare Fuel

My automobile club (Better World Club) offers me a discount coupon for something called Spare Fuel (see, which the manufacturer says is safe to carry in the car because it is not flammable. I have tried to find an impartial and authoritative review of this product on the Internet, but all I can find is the manufacturer’s promotional messages. (You can tell from the writing style that all the promotional messages come from the same writer, who is fond of using “one” as the third-person singular.) Can anyone point me to legitimate reviews of this product?

If it wont burn, then it won’t run your engine. I’d stay away from it.

If it’s not flammable, how does it work? I don’t have all day to watch the promo, but the whole concept seems far fetched.

I don’t believe in carrying spare fuel. When the tank gets to 1/4, I refill it.

I haven’t run out of gas in more than 40 years.

The only thing I can think of is a product that I saw around about 10 years ago where they packaged a product that would run a car and would handle long term storage. What ever mix of hydrocarbons they were selling, could give you a few more miles and had a longer shelf life than gasoline, I seem to recall they claimed it was stable for several years. ( stabilization treated gasoline has about a 1 year safe shelf life in my experience)

There aren’t any that I could find, which tells me the product itself is probably not legit. Their website won’t say what the stuff is made of, but claims to use “residual gasoline” in the tank to start the car, and then keep it running on the spare fuel stuff. My guess is, spare fuel is some sort of filler that’s meant to stretch the little gasoline that’s left by mixing it with the spare fuel. Kind of like cutting whiskey with water if you want more profit per bottle at a sleazy bar. And like a sleazy bar, I don’t think I’ll be patronizing this spare fuel stuff.

Here’s what I would suggest:

  1. Take the $20 bill that you would spend for 1 gallon of this “Spare Fuel”
  2. Hide the $20 bill somewhere inside your car
  3. When you need emergency gas (or money), retrieve the $20 bill and buy 6+ gallons of gas from the nearest gas station (or buy whatever else it was that you needed).

I carry my “spare fuel” in the bottom 1/2 of my fuel tank. I simply fill my tank when it gets near the 1/2 mark.

And I too recommend against these magic formulas.

The stuff has been sold for at least ten years. It is not as dangerous to carry as the regular gasoline of today, which is damn near impossible to extinguish once it catches on fire. If you use the spare fuel, you must fill the tank before you shut down overnight or the car may not start the next day. It isn’t worth buying.

It amazes me that so much practical wisdom can be found here when there is so little out there to go around.

Diesel is the ONLY auto fuel safe enough to carry around for any length of time in containers other than the fuel tank. So if it “ain’t” diesel and you don’t drive one it “ain’t” gonna work without concessions IMO.

Spare Fuel was actually tested on one of the local morning TV news shows here in Baltimore this week and it worked! They siphoned out all the gas and then drove the car (Subaru Outback) until it sputtered out. Then they poured it in and the car started up and drove away. Couldn’t believe it! Apparently, the reason it’s not flammable is the flash point is so much higher than gasoline. They even dropped a match into a glass of the stuff and it went out. However, they added that the high flash point means the engine MUST be hot, which it would be if you ran out of gas on the side of the road anyway. But it also means you have to get gas and not just drive home. Your car won;t start the next AM. I’ve never run out of gas myself, but almost did on a long road trip through the mtns of W.Virgina last ski season-middle of nowhere! Passed 2 gas stations that were closed because it was too late. Made it to the resort on fumes. Having this would have offered some piece of mind. I plan to get some now that I know it works.

You can drop a match into gasoline and it’ll go out too. It’s not explosive like you see in the movies.

You’d be better off getting AAA. They’ll come deliver a few gallons of gas if you ever do run out, and you get all the other benefits to boot (breakdown assistance, discounts in all sorts of stores, etc)

“You can drop a match into gasoline and it’ll go out too. It’s not explosive like you see in the movies.”

That can be a dangerous statement in the wrong minds. If you have a container full of gasoline and you throw a match into it, it will go out. But, if the container is half full of gas and it has been that way for a few minutes, it will resemble the movies, violently.

Even worse is just a little bit of gas in the bottom of the container and it has been sitting for awhile. That will singe your eyebrows for you.

The OP didn’t quite use the correct terminology. Spare Fuel is not flammable, but is combustible. Yes, it burns, but the terms used are technical terms that refer to the conditions needed to light the liquid up. Flammable fluids are more, um, flammable than combustible fluids. I actually read the stuff on their web site. It appears to be a gasoline distillate where the more volatile parts of the gasoline are evaporated, leaving this stuff they call Spare Fuel. They claim that you need gasoline to get the car started, but that Spare Fuel will tide you over until you get to a gas station. I don’t know what it costs, but it’s probably more than a gallon of gas. I didn’t see any wild claims. I also don’t know if it works. Maybe someone will test it for us. Hey, try it in that lawn mower you want to get rid of.

My 59 VW didn’t have a gas guage. When it started to sputter, you just reached down and flipped the lever for the spare tank. I very seldom let the tank get below 1/2 like the others.

Like I said, our local news station did try it out and the test car started right up and drove off. I think they said it was $25 for a half-gallon. I agree with the AAA statement (and have it myself), however they can be notoriously slow getting to you, especially if you’re in the country leaf-peeping or headed to ski (like I was) or something. And if you need to be somewhere, waiting for the AAA truck may not be an option. If I spend $25 on this stuff and keep it in my trunk for 5 years (they said you can keep it up to 10) and use it 1x when I REALLY need it, it’s worth it to me.

I suppose if you live in a rural area, especially out west, where gas stations can be many miles away, this stuff might be worth it. Bu on the Eastern Seaboard between Virginia and Maine, there are gas stations everywhere. I rarely need to drive more than a couple blocks to find a gas station. The farthest I usually need to go is from home to on - about 2 miles. And at $50/gal, Spare Fuel doesn’t make sense for me. After reading their FAQ, I believe it works. But I just don’t see much of a market for it.

Perhaps this substance they are selling won’t burn unless it has been compressed, but I can’t say for sure.

If I was driving a car with a broken fuel gauge, I could see the value of having something like this in my trunk, but since my fuel gauge works, I think I’ll pass.

I’m sure it will burn if you took a road flare to it or something, the point is that the flash point is high enough that it passes DOT regulations to be carried in the trunk of a car without special precautions.

However, I think it’s going to have very limited utility. A half gallon will take you how far? 12, 15, 18 miles at the most? If you are someplace so rural that you can’t find a gas station when you are running on E, will 15 more miles make a difference?

I think the real market for this is, regretfully to say, idiots. People who let their tank run dry while driving past

“If you are someplace so rural that you can’t find a gas station when you are running on E, will 15 more miles make a difference?”

It might just be enough to allow your wife or loved one to get to a place of safety on a dark back road at least.

But I agree with the point of not letting it get that low to begin with!