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Keep in mind that in 2003 China still hadn't figured out how to make small engines with good (enough for western consumers) quality control so everyone and their brother did not have a backup generator. These days things are very different. Many businesses (especially ones that depend on refrigeration) have backup generators now.

But most generators need fuel. It's only a temporary fix.

It's funny how a generator creates peace of mind, and yet we don't consider the magnitude of the disaster for which they give us peace.

The distributors have generators because they cannot afford to be down if the power is. They need power to run their systems. They might be running at reduced capacity but they will run.

Many gas stations/convenience stores and other small consumer facing businesses have generators because generators have proliferated and they have a financial incentive to have one. Sure, not all of them have generators but not all of them need it. If your two preferred gas stations are down and the third one is crowded you'll make do fine. This is what's different from '03.

Getting fuel in a blackout is a non-issue logistically. Paying for it is where the most problems will be because so many people don't carry cash anymore.

On payment.

Assuming cell network stays up, it is just another redundancy element, have a mobile network backup to landline network.

This story makes me think that I really should have more cash in reserve at home (typically I have nothing). And other "prepper" thoughts..

A gas generator can only run on gasoline, which is a complex fuel that can't be produced without a highly specialized industrial infrastructure But.... a moderately modified diesel generator can run on pure filtered vegetable oil, and that's something that any small homestead with a modest amount of planning and equipment can make, for as long as they have oil-bearing plants at their disposal.

It's not actually that complicated. Anyone can distill ethanol with 12th century technology, all you need is a source of sugar, such as corn, fruits, etc, yeast, and a heat source. If you're getting fancy you can use enzymes but it's not necessary. The only downside is that the yield is low, and modern engines don't run very well on pure ethanol without modification.

Okay, this is true and definitely useful as one more option in a so called STHF scenario but ethanol still provides more complications for use and conversion in modern gas engines (especially if you include newer fuel injected motors in cars).Furthermore and much more importantly, biodiesel (slightly different from the SVO of my original comment but close enough)produces about 90%+ more energy than is needed for its production, while ethanol only manages about 25% or so based on data I've seen. That's a major bonus for biosiesel and SVO generators or vehicle engines because in a real catastrophe situation, you'd want the most fuel energy for the least production inputs. Also, modified diesel engines that run biodiesel can also run straight vegetable oil and even animal fats, making them more versatile and easier to maintain than an ethanol motor.

> and modern engines don't run very well on pure ethanol without modification.

For carbeurated engines (i.e. every small piece of power equipment) you just need to drill out the precisely sized hole fuel goes through to be a different precise size. Your bigger issue will be keeping it clean long term.

Thus your other electricity-related problem in an infrastructure collapse scenarios would be replacing broken down factory-made parts for the whole diesel/veggie oil generator apparatus, but with enough spare components carefully stored, this could be mitigated against for a certain extended time.

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