What Are Gasoline Tanks Typically Made Of?

Gasoline tanks are typically made of steel in order to increase durability. However, due to affordability issues with using steel tanks, cheaper steel alternatives and specialized plastics have been used more often than actual steel tanks, some with simply reduced amounts of steel used along with the alternative.

The use of terne-coated stainless steel with an eight percent tin-lead coating has been the dominating source of material for gasoline tanks. The electrocoated zinc-nickel product is painted on both sides with an aluminum-rich epoxy to prevent corrosion of the metal. The use of such products better meets the 10-year life requirement of gas tanks. Steel tanks are much harder to damage and penetrate, leading to fewer punctures and leaks in the gas tanks. Hot-dipped tin as another source for metal gas tanks has also been found to be effective for resisting all fuels, but it does require a paint coating for exterior protection from road-induced corrosion, upping the price of production.

High-density polyethylene, or HDPE, is the resin of choice for plastic gas tanks. The use of plastic tanks, however, has increased because plastic offers lighter, easier-to-make-and-carry tanks for storing gasoline. However, plastics tanks often do not meet permeation standards, and must be thicker than steel tanks in order to withstand damage.