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None of us are getting very far without a fuel tank full of gas, but when our car needs a fuel tank the options can be enough to make your head spontaneously combust. There is an endless array of stock replacement fuel tanks, EFI conversion gas tanks, plastic fuel cells, and custom aluminum fuel tanks lining our inventory, but which gas tank is the right one for you? That depends on what you are building. Are you restoring a piece of American muscle, Pro-Touring an old truck, dreaming up a traditional hot rod, or building a weekend track warrior? All these builds need a different gas tank or fuel cell, but we can help you make the clear choice below.

How Long Do Fuel Tanks Last?

A fuel tank’s enemies are the same as the rest of the car, which are corrosion and/or damage from an accident, or a rookie on the jack using the tank as a jacking point. The perfect candidate for fuel tank replacement is that barn find you have unearthed after it has been sitting for 30 years. Corrosion has no doubt set up shop in the gas tank after sitting that long, as has sediment eager and willing to introduce itself to your new find’s fuel system and carburetor. If you are needing a new gas tank for your restoration, or to give that barn find a new lease on life, we have many factory replacement fuel tanks available. These reproduction gas tanks are designed to bolt right into place, getting that barn find or muscle car back on the road. 

What Is the Best Material for Fuel Tanks?

Your material of choice depends on what you want out of your build. If you are building a weekend oval track warrior or bracket drag car, a simple plastic example will perfectly fit your needs. However, if more serious performance is in the cards, the fuel tank/fuel cell you choose needs to mirror those goals. If your plan includes racing in any sanctioning body, you need to make sure the fuel tank/fuel cell is legal for competition in that series. The right fuel cell/fuel tank will let tech know you did the research to stay legal. If you want originality, our OE replacement fuel tank options are available in steel and stainless-steel fuel tank versions. 

For most racers, weight is the enemy. To that end, most want the lightest possible fuel cell, which in most applications would be the plastic examples, but we carry many made from seamless polyethylene that are approved for many sanctioning bodies. These feature something every racer needs in a fuel cell, which is a tip-over valve. However, many prefer the polished aluminum look for their Pro-Touring build, and we have those, too, in a square fuel tank design to fit between the frame rails. These square fuel tanks are available for a wide variety of applications, from T-Buckets to Pro-Touring builds to custom trucks. The square fuel tank design makes it easy for custom builders to find the right fuel tank for their needs. 

If you are looking for an aluminum gas tank for recreating the past build design of traditional hot rods and gassers, we have those too. A round spun aluminum gas tank was the mainstay of these builds from the past, and we have several ranging from 2-gallon to 11-gallon capacities. Round fuel cells are not really a popular term, but we do carry a round fuel tank made from lightweight polyethylene in several capacities and sizes, as well, for those wanting a round fuel tank, but at a lighter weight than aluminum. These round fuel cells, just like our more traditional round aluminum gas tank options, come with mounting straps and hardware to make for an easy installation. With the right hardware, a round fuel tank or round fuel cells, much like our square fuel cell and tank options, will mount just about anywhere. 

Are Fuel Cells Legal for the Street?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. If your vehicle is subject to smog inspections, the answer is no. Aftermarket fuel cells do not have all the required emissions-compliant provisions built into them like factory fuel tanks and systems designed to extract any harmful emissions. However, if your vehicle is classified as an emissions-exempt classic, then the answer is yes. If you have a 1972 Nova, more than likely it is emissions-exempt, and not subject to testing, which in that case a fuel cell is legal for street use. The best way to determine if you will stay on the right side of the law is to consult your local laws to see if it is legal to run a fuel cell in your vehicle.

What Is the Purpose of a Fuel Cell in a Race Car?

Fuel cells find their way into most race cars because of many reasons. First, many fuel cells are lighter than factory fuel or gas tanks, which makes them a no-brainer. Second, most fuel cells are smaller in size compared to their factory counterparts, which also makes them desirable in racing applications. Many fuel cells also feature a foam insert designed to keep fuel slosh at a minimum, just like factory fuel tanks’ trap doors and baffles. You can also bolt them anywhere provided you have the right surface for a proper installation. Furthermore, in racing applications, the chassis or frame is extensively modified to the point where the factory fuel tank usually no longer has a home or that home is not a safe place for fuel storage in a racing environment. That is where a fuel cell is needed.

What Fuel Tank Should I Use if I want to add EFI?

Converting to EFI is a popular upgrade, but in many cases, doing so with the factory fuel tank is not an option. Many factory tanks are not prepped to accept an electric fuel pump, and factory carbureted fuel pumps are not adequate to feed an EFI system. The easiest way to convert to EFI is to add a fuel tank system capable of supplying the pressure needed for an electronic fuel injection system. Many of the EFI conversion tanks we offer come with everything you need, including an EFI-compatible fuel pump, a fuel sender designed for stock fuel gauges, tank straps, an OE-like fit, and a galvanized steel construction. Whether you need one for a specific application, or a custom aluminum gas tank for your street rod/Pro-Touring build or race car, we have what you need.