How to Siphon Gas During an Emergency

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How to Siphon Gas During an Emergency


Siphoning gas is illegal, and this article is not intended to condone or promote this type of activity.  However, there may be a time when you are faced with a life threatening situation, and you need to tap into fuel in order to get out of harm’s way.  Let’s look at some ways to siphon gas with minimal material, as well as how to do it as quickly and safely as possible.

Tubing and Canister

This method is the most basic, and all you need to do is blow air through a tube in order to force the fuel from the tank.  You will need a few feet of clear aquarium tubing that is about an inch in diameter along with a gas tank or container with a cover.  While you can use any type of tubing, the clear ones will allow you to see the gas as it comes through.  This will allow you to get a sense of how much blowing you will need to do in order to get the fuel flowing.

Once the flow of gas has started, all you need to do is stick the tube into the canister or container and wait for it to fill up.  Try to place the tube at an angle that is lower than the vehicle so that it will be easier to draw out the fuel.  When finished, pull the tube from the vehicle tank to stop the flow of fuel. You may also need to use a rag or t-shirt to pack around the tubing attached to the vehicle in order to make a better seal and improve the vacuum pressure.

Tubing and Pump

You can also improvise your tubing to include a bulb pump in the center as a way to avoid having to use manual suction.  You can also purchase tubes with pumps already installed if you want to plan ahead.  To improvise, take two lengths of tubing and connect one end from each to the bulb pump.  You want the pump to be in the center of the tubing.  Make sure that you choose a pump that matches the diameter of the tubing, or find an adapter that will provide the system with a secure connection. 

Clamp down the connections or use some tape to make everything nice and tight.  This will also increase vacuum pressure and minimize air leaks, making it more efficient.  Insert the tubing deep into the vehicle gas tank, place the other end into your container, and start squeezing the pump until the fuel flows.  When finished, remove the tube from the vehicle tank and allow the remaining fuel to drain into the container.


This is the method that most people think about with siphoning.  It is also the most risky, because it’s very easy to end up getting a mouthful of fuel.  The trick to using this approach is to use clear tubing that is long enough to create a loop near the end where the fuel will drain into the container.  The loop will serve as a safeguard that will get the flow of fuel started without the need to force the fuel too close to your mouth.  Once the fuel has entered the loop, all you need to do is unwind the tubing and angle the end downward so it is at a point below the vehicle tank. 

Gravity should take over and cause the fuel to flow into the container.  While you can suck on a straight piece of tubing, it’s very important that you start with a gentle suck and work your way up to avoid the fuel rushing out and entering your mouth.  Stop sucking as soon as the fuel has entered the tubing at a point where it can be angled downward to flow into the container.  Hold the end with your thumb until you position the tube over the container and you should be good to go.

The one common denominator when it comes to siphoning fuel is that you need tubing and a container.  Consider getting these items ahead of time and incorporating them into your vehicle survival kit.  You may also want to practice these methods ahead of time so that you will get a sense of what needs to be done if and when you ever need to get fuel during a crisis.  In any case, siphoning is a very important skill to know, yet it is often overlooked due to the fact that we know it’s illegal.  However, there may come a time when you will be grateful that you learned how to do this.