Fuel jugs can be one of those unexpected “Oh yeah” expenses if you’re making the jump from driving your car to the track, to trailering it. It’s safe to say that most track cars transported on trailers no longer have street registration, so you’re either hoping that there’s fuel at the track (And that the track fuel isn’t marked up several dollars for the convenience. I’m looking a YOU, Watkins Glen), or you’re lugging along fuel jugs for the ride as well.
To be clear: I’m writing this from my perspective. The perspective of a HPDE/Sprint Racing person with a HEAVY focus on budget. There are faster flow options than what I’ve profiled here, but in general I’m writing this from the angle of getting convenient, transportable fuel storage, and reasonably quick flow. These are the type of fuel jugs you’ll see around the paddock at a HPDE-Spring race weekend. If you’re looking to go endurance racing with a fat budget, you’re looking at spending the money on Hunsaker or similar fast-flow jugs.
At NJMP with on-site fuel (with a reasonable markup that I can understand), I’ll bring 1 or 2 cans just to fill or top off in my pit spot. But Tracks like Lime Rock or Watkins Glen I’ll bring 3 or 4 cans. Getting those cans means adding another $120-160 to the budget, a rounding error for some people (And that’s fine) but it was a pretty big hit for me.
What if, instead of going and buying all new cans, you could use the ones you already have in your shed? Or… find at yard sales for $5?
For the purposes of this test, I have 3 different versions of fuels cans: I have a Scribner “Utility Jug”, as delivered with the standard hose. I have another Scribner with an upgraded Ai13 Billet Products Hose. Our third jug is a standard fuel tank with a $8 “Replacement nozzle gas can spout” from eBay.
I tested pouring a full 5 gallons from each jug into an empty Scribner. Each was tested multiple times, and repeated tests were all consistent within a half second.
I chose to not even test the standard can with the included nozzle. We are all familiar with the infuriatingly complicated fuel release mechanisms that not only significantly slow fuel release, but also are usually the cause of a ton of spillage you wouldn’t have with a standard nozzle. Blame idiots using gas cans near campfires who need various flame arrestor mechanisms to keep them from hurting themselves and others.
Can 1: The Standard Scribner Utility Jug. This is the $40 tank I got from OGracing. Shipping was free because my total order was over $100.
I’ve only owned this type of jug, but any time I’ve tried other tanks (VP for instance) I hated their vent design and always seeemed to choke fuel or spill.
Time for Full dump: 37 seconds.
Can 2: Scribner Utility jug with Ai13 billet nozzle/fittings. A couple years ago, Ai13 sent me a nozzle in exchange for a review. They work nice, I really enjoy the screw on cap (I’ve lost a few of the standard Scribner push-in caps)… but does it really flow faster?
Time for full dump: 35 seconds (-2s faster than stock, repeated 3 times)
Can 3: Part 1: Standard Fuel Jug you can find anywhere, with the addition of an $8 eBay replacement nozzle. You can find an endless supply of these for various prices with a couple different designs.
Installing this meant drilling a hole in my tank to install the vent (this design needs the extra vent to work).
Time for full dump: 80 seconds (more than double the racing tanks). However, with an easy dump and zero spill, this was certainly a good option.
Can 3: Part 2: Modifying the Nozzle Outlet.
The steam of fuel was noticeably smaller compared to the Scribner jugs. Looking at the nozzle, the tip pinched in considerably right at the edge. 30 seconds with a utility knife and I was able to open up the edge.
The result was shocking:
Time for full dump: 50 seconds!!! (That’s a 30 second improvement! Now it’s within 15 seconds of the full jugs)
Can 3: Part 3: – Modifying the Vent
As the tank was dumping with the larger spout, the usual faint whistle of the vent turned into a loud, desperate whistle. It was clear there was some flow being lost here. Looking into the vent, I noticed there was a rather large construction in the middle of the vent. I removed the vent (didn’t want anything falling into the tank), drilled it out, and reinstalled.
Time for full dump: 45 seconds! That tiny change lead to another 5 second improvement. Now it’s within 10 seconds of the racing fuel jugs.
My arms are tired.
I was a bit surprised that the Ai13 hose was actually faster, even if by 2 seconds. While the hose is larger the nozzles ends are still the same inner diameter. The Scribner hose did have a small kink in the middle, could this account for the 2 second difference in time from the Ai13 hose? Possibly. But the longer, more flexible hose is much easier to maneuver and dump fuel into any sort of tank. Not to mention, every scribner hose I have develops a similar kink pretty quickly.
I was surprised how quick and easy the standard can was with the eBay nozzle. I was shocked how close it got after those minor modifications. Is there more time in the standard fuel tanks+eBay nozzle? Sure, a different hose design (without the ribs) would likely help, but for less than $10 as-is, I can’t complain.
*You may occasionally find cheap deals or sources on specific models. I noticed that Tractor Supply is now selling white 5-gallon “utility jugs” on their site for around $25, they look an awful lot like VP Racing fuel containers. I don’t love their general design, but the price is right. Note that some states (Like New Jersey) require fuel be stored and transported in RED containers, so the white may be a headache.
I’m definitely still a huge fan of my the Scribner 5-gallon cans. OG Racing was the cheapest source when I bought my first pair 6 years ago, and they seem to still be one of the cheapest now. Around $40, their outright purchase price isn’t nothing, but mine have lasted a long time. Standard racing cans pack very well on a trailer, and it is easy to find pre-made tank racks. Standard fuel cans aren’t as tall and do fit well into the bed of a pickup truck, even with a tonneau cover.
The Ai13 billet nozzles are nice. They speed up flow a tiny bit, but I’d say their primary advantage is to distinguish your fuel jug from the sea of others at the track. If I was doing hot fuel stops and needed every tiny advantage, the $25 is reasonable, but I probably won’t buy more as-is.
If I was starting from scratch, I’d likely still go the Scribner route. However, If I was starting from scratch and had a few extra cans in the shed, I’d likely just buy fast flow nozzles for $8 each. If you are going to the store around the corner to buy a 5-gallon fuel tank you’re probably spending $25-30, add the $8 for fast flow nozzle and you’d have been better off buying a Scribner.
Fuel containers are regulated at various levels depending where you are. Consult local laws before making decisions based on fuel transport and storage. Most importantly, be smart. Fuel is dangerous. For the intents and purposes of this article, know that my fuel jugs are only used in off-road situations.
3 thoughts on “Fuel Jugs for the track – Do you need expensive Fast-Flow or can you use what’s already in your shed?”
The Scribner jugs don’t come with a nozzle, which one did you use in your testing?
The Scribner jugs don’t come with a nozzle, what did you use for your testing?
interesting, all mine did. It’s essentially just a npt to barbed 3/4″fitting that replaces the small cap in the center of the jug cap and rubber hose.