Transporting racing fuel, pump gas, and alcohol is an activity that gets little respect. Gasoline and, to a lesser extent, alcohol do not receive the respect that the amount of energy they are storing should get. From a safety perspective, we need to exercise great care when transporting and storing any fuel. And as fuel costs continue to rise we need to make sure we are getting all the value from the fuel we are using. This means that any activity we use to transport the fuel should provide a stable environment so we do not take anything away from the fuel that could affect our on-track performance. Using poor fuel transportation and storage techniques can take away some of the power producing components of the fuel.

Gasoline should always be stored in containers that will not allow sunlight to reach the fuel. Many racing fuels are photo sensitive, or sensitive to light. This essentially means that exposure to sunlight can damage the fuel. That may be hard to imagine, but many fuels blended for racing applications are very sensitive chemical compounds. It is not so much the light that has the potential to degrade the fuel but the ultraviolet light in sunlight that damages the fuel. In extreme instances separation of some of the components of the fuel can occur and this leads to a rapid degradation of the fuel.

It is possible that the fuel you are using is not photo sensitive, but it is better to be safe than sorry. The containers used for storing gasoline should be either metal or opaque plastic. If you are using plastic jugs the best colors for transporting gasoline is black. While the translucent white jugs are very popular, they are not the best choice for transporting and storing gasoline-based racing fuels. Just remember what your mom told you: "Just because everybody else is doing it, this does not make it right."

The translucent jugs are fine for alcohol, however. Just make sure that the jugs are well sealed from the environment. If the container that you are storing alcohol in is vented to ambient air, the alcohol and alcohol-based fuels will absorb moisture from the air. It is not uncommon for an excessive amount of water to be absorbed from the air in areas that have high humidity. Adding water to your fuel is not a good thing and can cause some problems, chiefly impairing your engine so that it may not run to its full potential. Water in the fuel system can also cause corrosion in the fuel system.

The word is not in yet on E85 gasoline, a blend of alcohol and gasoline. It is rated at 100 octane, but the jury is still out on whether E85 will absorb water just like pure alcohol.

Fuel containers should be shielded from sunlight whenever possible. Not just due to the damage caused by ultraviolet rays in sunlight but to prevent elevated temperatures of the fuel itself. It is not uncommon for plastic fuel cans stored in the sun to swell a bit. You will often notice that fuel jugs stored in the sun will hiss a good bit as they are opened. This hissing is all the light elements of the fuel that you are paying big money for that are escaping into the air in the form of vapors. If you have an open trailer, do your best to keep the fuel from seeing direct sunlight. Place a tarp or some type of cover over the fuel bottles to shade them from direct sunlight.

Another potential problem is fuel that is stored in an enclosed trailer may not be properly vented. If you can smell a high concentration of fuel vapor in the trailer when you open the door you have two problems. First the fuel jugs should be sealed from the environment, and second the ventilation in the trailer is inadequate. Both can cause real issues. Start by getting the fuel jugs sealed better. Then add some vents to the trailer; if the trailer already has vents make sure they are open.