Read our expert guide to petrol storage tanks for a concise introduction to everything you should know about petrol storage tanks including the types of petrol tanks available, storage regulations and getting the best price for your fuel.
What is petrol?
Petroleum (petrol) is a naturally occurring fossil fuel created by the decomposition of organic matter – primarily zooplankton and algae – which has been subjected to intense heat and pressure over millions of years. Petrol is primarily used as a fuel to power vehicles, heating units and machines.
Byproducts of petroleum can also be used to make plastics and other products.
What are petrol storage tanks used for?
Above-ground petrol storage tanks are ideal for those who consume petrol in such quantities where jerry cans, small petrol dispensers or bowsers have an insufficient storage capacity and are impractical. We have manufactured petrol tanks for a huge range of industries and enterprises from construction to country estates. Most typically we find that the leisure and sports industry use our petrol tanks for grounds maintenance or leisure and sports vehicles. Recently we manufactured a petrol tank for Leicester City Football Club’s new £103m state-of-the-art training ground. This is being used to fuel the dozens of John Deere maintenance vehicles required to maintain the 185-acre complex.
Similarly, the constant and fastidious attention a golf course needs to keep the green in optimum condition means the golf industry often requires onsite petrol storage. To keep their 210-acre golf course running Northampton County Golf Course recently replaced their 15-year-old petrol tank with a Tuffa 975 litre petrol dispenser which powers the numerous maintenance machinery.
What are the advantages of owning a bunded petrol tank?
Any company that uses large quantities of petrol as an essential part of their operations can benefit from onsite bulk petrol storage and dispensing. An onsite fuel tank offers you the convenience of on-site forecourt-style dispensing and can enable you to save money by bulk buying petrol at lower rates offered at the pumps. For some businesses the sheer quantity of petrol used means filling containers or mobile bowsers at the pump isn’t feasible making onsite petrol storage essential. This was an issue faced by Tony Hill, owner of Seafari Adventures in Scotland before he purchased a Tuffa tank:
“On a busy day in the height of the summer our daily petrol requirement is in excess of 1200 litres. An instant supply of petrol can be required should a lighthouse require immediate repair. With the nearest petrol station 16 miles away, and every 320 litre load transported by trailer, one trip to the petrol station took 2 hours and was a full-time job for one member of staff.”
What types of petrol storage tanks are available?
Mobile bowsers, large jerry cans and small dispensers (available in capacities up to 100 litres) are suitable for low-capacity usage. Above ground petrol tanks (available in capacities from 1000-3000 litres) and below ground petrol tanks (available in capacities from 2000 to 100000 litres) are suitable for those using a high capacity of petrol and each have their own benefits.
Above ground petrol storage tanks
Above ground petrol storage tanks are available in capacities from 1000 to 3000 litres and benefit from being cost-effective and relatively simple to install when compared with below ground petrol tanks. The entire tank and all dispensing equipment is accessible making it easy to maintain the system, diagnose and faults and replace equipment or filters where necessary.
Tuffa’s bunded petrol tanks
We manufacture above ground bunded petrol storage tanks in capacities from 975 to 3000 litres. These tanks are steel welded, bunded and fire protected to provide a safe and fully compliant petrol dispensing tank. A range of dispensing options adapt our tanks to fit most budgets and site requirements including locations without mains electricity.
Dispensing options include hand pumps, 240v pumps, and 12v pumps powered by a vehicle’s battery. We also manufacture petrol tank with a purpose-built plinth holding a Hytek Alpha forecourt style dispenser. This is the perfect option for those requiring a high-security fuel management system with intricate control and monitoring of fuel dispensing and is the style of tank manufactured for Leicester City Football Club at their £103m training grounds.
All of our petrol storage tanks are known to be incredibly durable and reliable with a designed life expectancy in excess of 30 years when properly installed, used and maintained. We also provide a 10 year guarantee on the bund and primary tank and a 12 month guarantee on ancillary equipment.
Below ground petrol storage tanks
Below ground petrol storage tanks are typically available in sizes from 2,000 to 100,000 litres. Due to their underground position these tanks benefit from carrying less risk from fire, explosions, theft and impact damage. As the name implies, underground petrol storage tanks take very little above ground space requiring pipes for venting and access points and are often the best solution for sites requiring very high storage capacities such as a forecourt.
However, for the majority of businesses above ground storage tanks are more suitable than underground tanks. That’s because underground petrol tanks require significant excavation work, repairs are considerably more difficult and costly, and leaks are more likely to go unnoticed.
How do I get the best petrol price?
Fuel prices can vary dramatically over time meaning there are substantial savings to be made for anyone who bulk buys fuel when prices are low. Price fluctuations occur for many reasons including demand, the exchange rate, natural disasters, and political unrest. Events in 2020 have highlighted how a diverse range of factors can affect fuel prices with an ‘oil price war’ between Saudi Arabia and Russia swiftly followed by the spread of COVID-19. The subsequent loss of demand for the fuel and surplus oil saw oil prices drop by almost one-third at the start of the year. This is compared with 2022 when fuel prices hit record highs due to political tensions with and sanctions against Russia.
Petrol wholesale prices
Trying to predict the various factors which influence fuel prices is almost impossible. However, one factor which remains fairly consistent is fuel demand by month which means that some months are typically cheaper than others. If you have the capacity to store petrol for a longer duration of time then you can fill your tank when prices are low (e.g. Jan) and top-up your tank during the more expensive summer months where necessary.
How long can petrol be stored for?
The typical shelf-life of petrol, when stored in a sealed container at 20 degrees, is around 6 months. Petrol stored for much longer than this can go ‘stale’, gather moisture and oxidate which reduces the fuel’s effectiveness, eventually becoming unusable. Oxidised fuel can be identified from its sour odour and darker colour. Fuel stabilisers which extend the shelf-life of petrol are available on the market, however, we would recommend checking their compatibility with our tanks.
Petrol storage regulations & standards
Petroleum is a highly flammable liquid with an extremely low flash point (-43°C) and petrol spills are very contaminant to water and soil. As such the manufacture of petrol tanks and storage of petrol is highly regulated. All of our petrol tanks are designed for the safe storage and dispensing of petrol as well as being fully compliant with UK regulations.
Petrol storage legislation
The storage and procurement of petrol in the UK is regulated and storing more than 275 litres of petrol is not possible without first obtaining a petroleum certificate from your local authority petroleum officer. Depending on the site location this will vary:
Metropolitan County > Fire Service > Petroleum / Fire Officer
Unitary Authorities (Non-Metropolitan County) > Trading Standards > Petroleum / Fire Officer
Help to locate your local petroleum officer can be found on the APEA website.
If you are storing less than 275 litres then see DSEAR regulations for storing petrol at home or a club/association.
Obtaining your petroleum certificate
It is advised before purchasing a Tuffa Petrol Tank that your local petroleum officer is contacted for advice on the step by step process of obtaining your petroleum certificate, this can vary from one district to another however we advise that:
1. A 2D drawing be obtained of the desired Tuffa petrol tank (provided by Tuffa Tanks)
2. A site drawing of the tank and its location and surroundings be produced (provided by the end user or installation company) this should contain any nearby boundaries, buildings, thoroughfares, additional tanks, fixed sources of ignition, additional hazards.
3. A product specification be obtained and submitted with the site drawing to the petroleum / fire officer (provided by the end user or installation company)
4. If requested by the petroleum / fire officer arrange a site visit at the desired tank location and await the petroleum officer’s instruction.
5. Upon receiving approval from the Petroleum / Fire Officer order and take delivery of the Tuffa petrol tank.
6. When the tank is positioned in the notified location inform the petroleum officer, a further site visit and drop test may be requested after installation although is not always required. (Responsibility of the end user or installation company)
7. At the petroleum / fire officer’s discretion you will then obtain your Petroleum certificate and will be eligible to purchase the agreed amount of petrol set out by the petroleum / fire officer.
8. Arrange for first delivery of petrol with the desired supplier.
After a petroleum certificate is obtained you must keep a log of every petrol delivery, this will detail the amount delivered, the date, the drivers and receivers signature, a maintenance log must also be kept detailing any works carried out on the Tuffa petrol tank both of which must be made available at the petroleum officers request and is the responsibility of the end user.
Petrol storage tank manufacturing standards
Our petrol tanks are manufactured in accordance with best practice and regulations including:
• Design, Construction, Modification, Maintenance and Decommissioning of Filling Stations (the ‘Blue book’)
• Safety design features in accordance with DSEAR (Dangerous substances & Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 Second Edition)
• Bunded in accordance with Oil Storage Regulations throughout the UK
Installing a petrol storage tank
Above ground storage tanks should be sited in a well-ventilated position separated from the site boundary, occupied buildings, additional tanks, sources of ignition and process areas. Petrol tanks should be located at least 4 metres from site boundaries, adjacent buildings & building escape routes including windows and doors, process areas, fixed sources of ignition and additional tanks. The layout of tanks should always consider the accessibility needed for petrol tankers as well as the emergency services. Please note, this system is not designed to be sited on a raised base, the tank must be sited at the same level as the delivery tanker.
The petrol storage tank must be installed and fully supported on a smooth levelled concrete base built in accordance with good building standards and engineering principles. It is recommended that tanks be installed on a concrete base at least 100mm thick. Please refer to diagram below: