Can you carry extra fuel?

How to travel with extra fuel safely on a road trip.

Planning your fuel stops and carrying some extra fuel is a necessity in the outback as service stations are limited in remote areas of Australia. You can also save money by buying extra fuel when prices are low and carrying it with you.

But it’s not as simple as just filling up a container of fuel and hitting the road. There are safety, practical and legal considerations to bear in mind.

How to carry extra fuel

The most common way to carry extra fuel is in a plastic jerry can which needs to be kept in good condition. Plastic jerry cans are safe to use as they will flex if impacted and will not rust or perish over time. They are also lighter and easier to carry than their metal counterparts. 

Make sure your jerry cans are either colour-coded or clearly labelled to prevent mix ups and to assist rescue services if there’s an emergency. Properly labelled containers will help emergency service to know exactly what they’re dealing with and avoid further problems. Here is the standard colour code:

  • Red: unleaded fuel
  • Olive Yellow: diesel fuel
  • Mist Blue: water
  • Orange: ethanol

Where to carry extra fuel

Having the right container is just the first step, you also need to carry and the containers them in the right location. Don’t store fuel containers inside your vehicle where the vapours can be inhaled. Smelling fuel can cause nausea, drowsiness and headaches. In some cases, the fumes can even be poisonous.
 
Carefully consider where you store the extra fuel outside of the vehicle. Don’t place the cans anywhere that’s prone to impact in case of a crash and avoid carrying your fuel cans on the front of your vehicle, the rear of caravans or on the drawbar of trailers. The cans must also be safely secured so they can’t slide.

How much fuel can you carry?

Legally, you cannot carry more than 250L of petrol or ethanol in jerry cans in your vehicle. Extra fuel adds extra weight to your vehicle, so you also have to make sure you’re staying under your GVM (the maximum legal weight of the car). Not to mention the fact that the higher the weight, the lower the fuel efficiency of your car.

RACQ members can save 4 cents per litre on fuel at participating Puma Energy and Choice petrol stations Australia wide.