When you hear “fuel” and “car”, you normally think “gasoline”. But the fuels of this subject are not for the purpose of operating the car, but to fuel a survival fire and incorporate a much larger variety of resources. The combustible fuels include brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze (undiluted), engine oil and differential oil. These fluids can be used in slush lamps (see Slush Lamp Basics) for cooking, light, warmth and signaling. Each fuel has slightly different properties and can differ in light output and duration. Gasoline can be used as well, but because it’s classified as a “spirit” it is more volatile and must be handled differently. To use gasoline (or other spirits) you can fill a small can with sand which acts as a wick. In lieu of sand you can also use a small tall can and pour in a small amount, perhaps a quarter inch and when lit, the can’s height will inhibit rapid combustion and produce a controlled flame. It may need to be lit a few times while the can heats enough to sustain the flame. Besides these liquid fuels, there are also solid fuels such as tires, inner tubes, seat cushions, etc. that tend to produce more soot when burned.
A word of caution: in all cases these fuels should be used outdoors or in a very well ventilated area. It’s best to stay upwind from the smoke and fumes that are produced. Make sure that the vessel holding the fuel is stable, as spilled flammable liquids can have disastrous consequences.
Your car holds many emergency fuels, but other types of vehicles and machines such as boats, planes and tractors can provide similar fuels too. Knowing about these resources in an emergency situation and knowing how to use them could save your life.