Survival basics: 10 Ways to deal with fuel scarcity in a post-SHTF world
By Zoey Sky // Nov 09, 2022

The whole world faced many disastrous events like the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, various natural disasters and economic recession in the past few years. Even now, gas prices continue to skyrocket and fuel scarcity is another potential problem that you need to prepare for.

If you're worried about fuel scarcity, here are 10 tips that will help you get by before and after SHTF. (h/t to

Practice fuel-efficient driving habits

How you drive your car significantly affects its fuel consumption. If you face a gas crisis one day, you can't afford to continue wasteful habits like idling and speeding while driving.

These fuel-efficient driving habits can help you save fuel:

  • Remove excess weight from your car.
  • Anticipate the pace of traffic before leaving the house.
  • Always drive within the speed limit.
  • Minimize your idling time by turning off your car at red lights or other long stops, like when you're waiting for your kids at school.
  • Control your acceleration and deceleration. This is important because fast acceleration burns gas at a quicker rate compared to when you're driving at a slower and more consistent pace. Additionally, maintaining a constant speed can help you save gas.
  • Open the windows instead of using the A/C. Note that having the A/C on while your car is already running doesn't add much stress to your engine and won't use up gas at a much faster rate. However, when your car is idling turning on the A/C can place more of a load on the engine, requiring more gas to help it work harder. In this case, it's better to leave the windows open.
  • Use cruise control on highways.

Before you get in your car, find the optimal route to your destination. Remember that the fastest way isn’t always the best.

For example, one route might be the quickest way to get from point A to point B, but if there are constant starts and stops you burn more fuel. Meanwhile, a trip using another route may take longer, but you will consume less gas if you drive at a consistent speed that puts less strain on your car.

Track fuel consumption

If you want to make your fuel supply last, learn how to efficiently and accurately track your fuel consumption.

This practice includes these important tasks for accurate tracking:

  1. Recording the miles driven.
  2. Logging each fuel refill.

When SHTF, you can't casually use fuel from your limited supply. Tracking fuel consumption is key to making the most of your supply after disaster strikes.

Start using other transportation methods

While things are normal, start using transportation methods if you need to travel.

If you need to get to the office, ride a bicycle or use public transportation. This will help conserve your fuel supply for when you truly need it.

Start with your daily commute since it takes up a major portion of your overall fuel consumption. Carpooling is another great option if you live in the same area as your co-workers.

If your job is flexible enough, ask if you can switch to a remote work arrangement. (Related: Prepping 101: How to financially prepare for rising energy prices.)

Stock up on fuel

Current gas prices hint at a possible fuel crisis, but it's hard to predict when it might occur. It could happen within several years or a couple of days from now.

If you want to prep before SHTF, keep your gas tanks full with frequent top-offs.

Get spare cans and stock up on at least three months' worth of fuel. The fuel won't go bad as fast since gasoline has a shelf life of up to six months.

Label each tank by date and rotate your supply by filling up your vehicles with the oldest can first.

Consider using other energy sources

Don't rely on just one energy source on your homestead.

If you want more options, consider these alternatives that are becoming more common on off-grid homesteads:

Hydroelectric energy

Note that a micro-hydro system depends on your location. This option is ideal if you already have a running water source near your property.

Solar energy

Solar energy is a great option because it is an unlimited energy source, is sustainable and easy to set up. You will need several solar panels or a photovoltaic kit to provide enough solar energy for your homestead.

Wind energy

Installing wind turbines and generators requires a lot of money, time and manpower, but wind energy is unlimited if you live in a very windy area.

Invest in emergency fuel sources

If you want to remain self-sufficient after SHTF, you shouldn't rely solely on petroleum-based fuel since you use gas for more than just driving.

You need gas to generate electricity, cook food and heat your home. Start now and invest in several emergency fuel sources to increase your supply before SHTF.

Here are some options to consider for your stockpile:


Ethanol, isopropyl and denatured alcohol are all very flammable and have indefinite shelf lives. If you run out of alcohol, you can also use a bottle of liquor in a pinch.


Charcoal should only be burned outdoors because it produces high amounts of carbon monoxide, but it’s also more efficient than regular wood.


Make sure you have enough dry, well-seasoned firewood on your property so you can cook and stay warm after SHTF.

Gel fuel

Gel fuel is made up of 90 percent isopropyl alcohol and 10 percent gelling agent. It doesn't spill or emit smoke and it can stay lit for at least three hours, making it the perfect stealth option if you want to keep a low profile in a post-SHTF world.

Since these alternative fuel sources are more readily available than gasoline, start using them for daily tasks more often to conserve your fuel supply.

Maintain your car regularly

Like other vehicles, your car must be maintained regularly so it remains fuel-efficient.

Even before SHTF, you need to spend more time on preventive maintenance tasks like checking the tire pressure, changing the filters and replacing the fluids per the manufacturer's recommendations.

Address minor car problems immediately to prevent serious mechanical failure. You should also learn how to fix common engine problems so your car stays reliable.

Improve your home and auto security

In a post-SHTF world, desperate people may target others who have extra weapons and supplies.

For example, people may try to siphon gas from you, especially if they know you have a fuel stockpile on your property. They might even try to steal your vehicle and other supplies.

To prevent this, you need to boost your home and car security to protect your property and supply.

Set up security cameras, an alarm system, light fixtures and motion-sensor alarms to deter looters and trespassers.

Here are some auto security devices that can help protect your car:

  • Brake and clutch lock – This keeps your car pedals locked in place.
  • GPS tracker – A GPs tracker lets you track your stolen car’s location.
  • Immobilizers – Immobilizers fuse cutoffs and kill switches to prevent your car from starting until you press a hidden button.
  • Steering wheel lock – This prevents the steering wheel from moving far enough to complete a turn while driving.
  • Wheel clamp – A wheel clamp stops the wheel from spinning after someone steals it.

Don't get complacent because you live in what seems like a safe and crime-free community now. After SHTF, there's no guarantee that it will remain safe and peaceful after a fuel crisis.

Stock up on survival supplies

Prep ahead of time and stock up on survival supplies like food, water, gear and fuel. You also need first-aid supplies and other essential survival items.

Grow your own food in a home garden

Being able to grow your own food is a crucial advantage if you are worried about fuel scarcity. Turn your yard into a home garden so you can grow food and medicinal plants that you can consume and use after disaster strikes.

When SHTF and fuel prices skyrocket, trucks won't be able to deliver fresh food, supply chains will shut down and grocery stores will have little to no supplies for you to buy.

But if you have a home garden, you can feed your family. You can also opt to raise livestock if you want access to meat and dairy.

Prepare before SHTF and stock up on fuel for your car to ensure your survival amid a fuel scarcity.

Watch the video below for more information about non-food items to stock up on.

This video is from the Survival 101 channel on

More related stories:

Mike Adams: Learn resilient prepping to survive Great Reset.

Prepping essentials: 11 Forever foods for your food storage pantry.

Survival essentials: 9 Types of fuel you may need in your stockpile when SHTF.

Sources include:

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