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Make Sure Your SHTF Bug Out Car is Using Diesel

In the world of prepping, the importance of a well-equipped bug-out vehicle cannot be overstated. As a former soldier, I’ve experienced firsthand the unpredictable nature of emergencies and the absolute necessity of a reliable escape plan. A bug-out vehicle is not just a mode of transportation—it is your lifeline in a crisis. Among the myriad options for such a vehicle, one stands out above the rest: a diesel-powered car. In this article, I will delve into the reasons why a diesel vehicle is your best bet when preparing for a ‘Shit Hits The Fan’ (SHTF) scenario, combining my military insights with practical advice to ensure you are as prepared as you can be.

Key Takeaways

  1. Diesel Efficiency: Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines, especially under heavy loads, making them ideal for long-distance evacuations.
  2. Durability and Reliability: With fewer spark-driven parts, diesel engines are less prone to breakdowns, ensuring that your vehicle remains operational when you need it most.
  3. Fuel Availability: In crisis situations, diesel is often more readily available as it is used in agriculture, trucking, and emergency services.
  4. Longevity: Diesel fuel has a longer shelf life than gasoline, which is crucial for long-term storage in preparation for emergencies.
  5. Power for Pulling: The higher torque output in diesel engines is beneficial for towing and hauling supplies or improvised shelters.

In the following sections, I’ll expand on these points and share personal anecdotes from my time in the field to illustrate just how vital a diesel bug-out vehicle can be in your survival strategy.


Why Choose Diesel for Your Bug Out Vehicle?

Fuel Efficiency and Range

My time as a soldier taught me that in survival situations, efficiency can make the difference between life and death. Diesel engines are notably more efficient than their gasoline counterparts. This efficiency translates into longer range on less fuel—a critical advantage during evacuations when fuel stations might be closed or inaccessible. A diesel vehicle can travel a significantly greater distance on a single tank, which could be the key to escaping a danger zone.

Durability Under Stress

During my deployment, our vehicles were put under extreme conditions, and consistently, the diesel-powered vehicles outlasted others. The robust nature of diesel engines, with their simpler ignition systems (they don’t use spark plugs) and stronger engine blocks, allows them to endure harsher conditions and more severe wear and tear. This reliability can be a game-changer when navigating rough terrains or when maintenance resources are scarce.

Greater Torque for Tough Situations

In a bug-out scenario, you might need to haul additional supplies, tow other vehicles, or navigate steep terrains. Diesel engines produce more torque at lower RPMs compared to gasoline engines. This means better towing capacity and improved handling in challenging driving conditions. I remember a mission in rugged terrain where our diesel trucks pulled heavy equipment with ease, while gasoline trucks struggled to keep pace.

Longer Shelf Life of Diesel Fuel

Fuel might not always be fresh in post-disaster scenarios. Diesel has a longer shelf life than gasoline and can be stored for longer periods without significant degradation of quality.

During my service, we often relied on fuel that had been stored for months, and diesel proved to be more stable and reliable.

Availability in Crisis

In emergencies, prioritization of fuel distribution often favors diesel due to its extensive use in critical sectors like farming, trucking, and emergency services.

This broader usage makes diesel more accessible, which can be vital when gasoline pumps run dry. Post-disaster, this accessibility could mean the difference between staying put and making a successful evacuation.

Personal Anecdotes: Lessons from the Field

Throughout my military career, I’ve experienced numerous instances where the superiority of diesel was not just theoretical but practical. On one occasion, during a severe flood, our unit had to evacuate a remote village.

The only vehicle that was capable of making several high-water trips was our old diesel-powered truck. It not only handled the adverse conditions but also had the fuel efficiency to make multiple runs without refueling, a logistical miracle in those critical hours.

Fear Mongering: Prepare for the Worst

It’s not just about being prepared; it’s about preparing for the worst. Imagine scenarios where fuel stations are destroyed, roads are impassable, and help is days away.

In these moments, a diesel bug-out vehicle stands as your best chance for survival. The chaos is not a question of if, but when. Will you be ready to face these challenges head-on with a reliable diesel vehicle at your disposal?

Integrating Your Vehicle into Your Overall Survival Plan

Choosing a diesel vehicle is only part of your survival strategy. Here are additional considerations to ensure your bug-out vehicle is truly ready:

  • Regular Maintenance: Keep your diesel vehicle in top condition with regular check-ups and maintenance.
  • Fuel Storage: Safely store enough diesel fuel, considering its longer shelf life.
  • Emergency Supplies: Equip your vehicle with essential supplies and tools, including a first aid kit, spare parts, food, water, and survival gear.
  • Navigation Tools: Have physical maps and possibly a GPS with stored local maps, as digital connectivity may be compromised.
  • Self-Defense Equipment: Depending on legality and personal preference, consider having self-defense tools readily accessible.


The choice of a diesel-powered bug-out vehicle is rooted in practical experience and tested under the most severe conditions imaginable. Its benefits in terms of reliability, efficiency, and practicality in emergency scenarios cannot be overstated.

As we look towards an uncertain future, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a dependable escape vehicle ready is invaluable. Remember, in a true SHTF situation, your vehicle isn’t just a tool—it’s your lifeline.


Q: How much diesel fuel should I store for emergencies? A: Aim to store enough fuel to cover at least double the distance to your designated safe location, accounting for potential detours.

Q: Are diesel engines harder to maintain than gasoline engines? A: Diesel engines generally require less frequent maintenance but make sure you understand the specific needs of your vehicle.

Q: What are the disadvantages of a diesel bug-out vehicle? A: Diesel engines can be noisier and emit more particulates, though modern engines are much improved. Also, in extremely cold environments, diesel can gel if not properly treated.

Q: Can diesel fuel be sourced from other means in an emergency? A: Yes, diesel is used widely in various industries, so in an emergency, there may be alternative sources you can tap into, following safety and legal considerations.