Filling an outdoor in-ground pool with gasoline to hoard, could it work?

Somebody on Reddit is claiming they’re seeing their next door neighbor fill their outdoor in-ground pool with gasoline in an attempt to horde it in advance of growing gasoline prices. They haven’t given anymore details besides that so I assume they’re lying to make a joke.

But that absolutely wouldn’t work right? The gas fumes would be so overpowering you couldn’t live in that house? I’m curious the sheer logistics of doing something like that.

And the fire danger.
Gasoline does go “stale” over time so most would go to waste.
Unless the pool is covered, there’s going to be lots of leaves and dust accumulating.

National average price of gas is 4.32. A 12x24 pool would cost over $45,000 to fill.
Good luck find any distributor who would actually fill a residential pool.

And a lot of the more volatiles evaporating, making that gas ‘heavier’ and problematic to use in engines.

There are regulations for fuel storage, you know.

You could put it in an underground tank

Or you could get a five-gallon gas can and fill the pool little by little over a period of time. Then it’s a matter of how much you can get before someone notices activity that looks suspicious and makes a phone call that sparks an investigation.


During earlier shortages the private tank was the choice of some of the well off. IIRC in the 1970’s, I think John Denver was one of the celebrities raked over the coals by environmentalists for putting a tank in the yard of his home.

If you’ve ever left a vehicle parked all winter (or your snowblower parked all summer) unless you drain the tank, after a long time the gas smells more like varnish. I suppose someone can tell us the chemical activity happening, but I assume that the more volatile shorter carbon chain compounds slowly evaporate through the tank vent holes. The residue can also clog up fine points like carburetor jets. I assume there is a chemical reaction happening too, because one solution to this is to add “fuel stabilizer” before putting the the item in storage.

For the typical swimming pool - I can’t imagine an appropriate cover that would adequately seal the top of the pool. The stink would be overwhelming, not to mention the fire hazard - sure to result in a visit by the fire inspector. Meanwhile, you’ve taken a positive asset to the value of your home and made it a hazard. (Planning on any outdoor barbeques on the patio?) Then, how do you ensure the assorted pool plumbing (pump, filter, etc.) are not contaminated and whether some of those pipes etc. are plastic and may dissolve in the long term with gasoline? Also while a slight crack and minor leak with water is probably not a big deal, the least leakage from a gas storage means some incredibly expensive ground clean-up. Many old gas stations are somewhat unsaleable now because a tank leaked and the cleanup cost is beyond the value of the land. (My parents old house was up for sale a few years ago, one of the inspection conditions was certification the very old underground outdoor oil tank had not leaked.)

Then of course, you want a pump to use to fill up your car. Running a hose from the pool. How do you get the last little dregs, if you are trying to drain it? Or will there be a 3-inch puddle of gas in there until it all evaporates? How long will it take you to go through 45,000 gallons? At 30mpg that’s 1,350,000 miles of driving.

But… it’s a great urban legend.

Sounds legendary. It shouldn’t be hard for someone to get a photo. However, I do point out that in a recent gas shortage within the past year someone filled their pickup truck with gas and drove off sloshing all over the place. Here is the video:


A fuel truck operator would never fill a swimming pool with gasoline. Those folks have to go through a shit-load of training, and an operator would never risk losing their license doing such a thing.

Or, you know, his life.

I’m pretty sure that’s just water and the filming people are in on it.

That is essentially correct. Gasoline is a very artificial petroleum product that is refined by fractional distillation to produce a lightweight fuel that is energy dense, which also means that it has a lot of extremely volatile constituents that easily break down to produce aromatic hydrocarbons. As the lighter components vaporize it leaves very carbon rich residues often referred to as ‘varnish’ and is actually very much like furniture varnishes in composition. Fuel stabilizers help to slow the chemical breakdown but there is a limit to what they can produce.

In addition to the enormous fire hazard and toxic seepage risk that open storage of a large mass of gasoline would present, the vaporized gasoline would rapidly saturate any textiles, unsealed wood, dried leaves and lawn clippings, et cetera in the area, presenting a massive flash fire hazard. Of course, it would be impossible to disguise the odor, and just putting a cover over the pool will do essentially nothing other that slightly slow the process, hence why gasoline and other petroleum fuels are stored in sealed underground tankage.


That would make for a hell of a Fourth. Or whatever day it goes off.

It doesn’t look like water when it splashes on the ground - it looks like something with lower density and viscosity.

Hoard: a stock or stockpile of stuff.
Horde: a large crowd (usually of people, or people-like things)

Here’s a real-world example of what it would look like with any spark in the vicinity. Go to 2:53 in the video.

And another risk (dwarfed by the fire risk, but still a risk) - if you fell in, you’d have a tough time keeping your head above the surface given its lower density.

Never mind SMELLS suspicious.

I think the neighbor is joking.

3 bedroom-2 bath, 2 car garage.
Hot tub and heated pool.
Hurry! This won’t last long!

If people swim in it and pee in the pool, it’ll ruin your engine. It’s just not worth that risk.