A Comparison Between Plastic and Steel Fuel Tanks

Business Blog

Are you planning to hire a fuel storage tank for use at your construction site? Read on and discover how plastic fuel tanks differ from tanks made from steel. Use this information to select the most appropriate tank for your needs.


Internal and external factors can expose fuel tanks to risks of corrosion. For example, steel tanks may corrode due to prolonged exposure to the moisture contained in the fuel stored in the tanks. Salts from de-icing operations can also cause the exterior of the tank to corrode. Special precautions have to be taken to protect steel tanks from such threats. For example, the tank can be coated with zinc in order to enhance its corrosion resistance. However, this protection can eventually fail over time. Plastic fuel tanks cannot corrode because they don't react with the substances that cause corrosion. You may therefore be better off opting for a plastic fuel tank if corrosion is a major concern at your site.


Plastic tanks are less likely to experience rapid temperature increases when compared to steel tanks. This is because plastic is a poor conductor of heat (unlike steel). However, plastic can become deformed when it is exposed to high temperatures over a long time. This is unlike a steel tank which will retain its structural integrity despite being exposed to high temperatures at an installation site. Steel tanks may be a wiser choice in case the fuel tank will not be kept in a location that is shielded from high temperatures, such as direct sunlight.

Fire Risks

Plastic fuel tanks are prone to sudden failure when exposed to fire. This sudden failure can cause the fire to spread rapidly once the contained fuel is released. Steel tanks don't fail suddenly in the same way as plastic tanks do. However, the rapid transfer of heat from the tank body to the fuel can cause the pressure inside the tank to build up quickly. This can cause a tank fitting, such as a valve, to fail and release the fuel. It takes longer for a steel tank to reach such a failure point.


Plastic fuel tanks are easier to move from one location to another due to their lightweight construction. Steel tanks are heavier and require more energy to tow to an installation site. You may therefore be unable to move the tank using your own vehicle due to the greater towing capacity needed to move that load.

Each tank material has its own unique drawbacks and benefits. Contact a fuel tank hire company, like Total Generators, and share your concerns so that an appropriate tank can be recommended for your needs.


12 February 2018

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