Whether you have a small farm with just a couple of acres or you have a sprawling ranch with herds of animals roaming the countryside, you have probably thought about arranging to have on-site access to fuel. However, before jumping into an expensive contract with a bulk fuel provider, it is important to figure out which type of storage container or tank is right for you as well as to understand your options for fuel providers.
Types of Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks
When selecting the type of bulk fuel storage container for your farm or ranch, you have to consider many factors including your usage, cost, fuel sources for delivery, property size, security, bunding (fuel spill containment system), and whether to go with above ground or below ground storage.
ABOVE GROUND BULK FUEL STORAGE TANKS
- Overhead Tanks – This is a cost-effective choice for small farms and ranches because installation requirements are minimal, a fuel pump is not required, and bunding is not normally needed since these tanks usually fall below the regulated size. However, refilling can be a safety issue with the tanks being high off the ground, and in severe weather events involving tornados or high winds, they can potentially fall over if not properly secured. Lastly, fuel can be easily stolen without some sort of locking system installed.
- Skid Mounted Tanks/On-ground Tanks – These tanks provide more security options to prevent fuel theft. They also can be relocated to different locations on your property with a forklift. With their larger capacity, they do require bunding to prevent ground contamination. You can either purchase a tank with a built-in bunding system, or you can place them on concrete structures meant to capture any fuel spills. In addition, a fuel pump with access to a power source are needed.
- Truck Bed Tanks – If you have large pieces of equipment scattered across your farm or ranch, then you might want to consider investing in a truck bed fuel tank. Although they have relatively small capacities, the ability to take the fuel to the equipment saves valuable time. If you already have an overhead or skid mounted tank, the trunk bed tank could be a positive addition to your fuel management system.
- 5-Gallon Hand Jugs – As any experienced farmer or rancher knows, the traditional 5-gallon hand jugs are always handy to have available for small emergencies. You can quickly fill them at a local gas station or at your own bulk fuel storage tank. They are very portable and can be transported on a 4-wheeler or side-by-side. However, they are not a good option for prolonged fuel storage because they can be a fire hazard and can be highly combustible if not stored properly.
BELOW GROUND BULK FUEL STORAGE TANKS
If your farm or ranch uses large amounts of fuel on a regular basis, then the below ground bulk fuel storage tank is an economically smart choice. Fuel theft is not a problem because you have complete control over fuel dispensing. They need to be refilled less often than their above ground counterparts which reduces your out-of-pocket expenses for fuel transport. You have constant access to a fuel source that is not susceptible to damage from tornados or other severe weather.
There are disadvantages to underground tanks as well. They are not portable. Once placed, they should only be removed by trained professionals to prevent major ground contamination. Federal, state, and local oversight require documented compliance with regulations, and you will need to follow a fuel management plan to prevent and monitor fuel and ground contamination.
Filling Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks: Local Fuel Sources or Coop
If you only fuel equipment with truck bed tanks or 5-gallon jugs, then using your local fuel source is probably your best option. You can easily transport these containers yourself whenever they need to be filled without incurring delivery charges.
For overhead, skid mounted, or below ground tanks, joining a fuel provider cooperation will be a better alternative. With coops, you can negotiate costs, set a delivery schedule, and receive higher amounts of fuel. Before signing a contract with any fuel provider, you should shop around for an organization that meets your fueling needs within a reasonable budget.
Benefits of Bulk Fuel Storage
If you are still on the fence about installing bulk fuel storage tanks on your property, you should consider the benefits of having consistent access to fuel.
- Convenience and Time Saving – When you have your own fuel source on-site, you no longer have to waste valuable time for yourself or your employees by having to drive equipment to an off-site fuel facility. Your equipment is not sitting unusable while your fuel delivery is running late. Instead, you can start every morning with full tanks.
- Lower Costs – Bulk Fuel Storage saves you the expense of driving miles to fuel up your machines and vehicles. Furthermore, you can shop around and negotiate better prices when suppliers know you will be a repeat client.
- Security – When you rely on employees using company credit cards to fuel your vehicles, you are running the risk of them taking advantage of you by filling personal vehicles on your dime. With on-site bulk fuel storage systems, you are able to monitor how your fuel is being utilized.
- Fuel Management and Availability – When there are fuel shortages, you will still have fuel available for your farm or ranch. In addition, you have control of how often you will refill your fuel tanks during peak seasons when you need more fuel and during off seasons when you need less.
Start the Process to Installing Your Bulk Fuel Storage Tank
Navigating the regulations for bulk storage can be the biggest hurdle you will need to overcome. Lone Star Ranch Management has the experience and knowledge to guide you through regulatory compliance. We can also assist you with selecting the right tank and fueling provider. Contact us at 979-253-9662 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process toward your fuel independence.