Fuel Cell Vs Fuel Tank: What Are the Differences?

fuel cell vs gas tank

We will examine the various distinctions between a fuel tank and a fuel cell in this article.

Given that your car has one, you’ve probably heard of a fuel tank. In contrast, fuel cells are the fuel tank’s close relative. How are fuel cells and fuel tanks different from one another?

The biggest distinction between a fuel cell and a factory-style fuel tank is burst strength. In order to prevent fuel from spilling out in the event of a collision or rollover, fuel cells, which are primarily made for racing, have very high burst strengths. Steel or plastic factory fuel tanks were not intended to withstand that kind of abuse.

Below are the differences between a fuel cell and a fuel tank.

What is a Fuel Cell?

In that they store fuel that is supplied to the engine, fuel cells and fuel tanks are very similar in this regard. The similarities stop there, though, pretty much. Fuel cells are an aftermarket item that you can purchase somewhere like this, are generally not permitted for use on public streets, and are not fitted specifically to the vehicle.

These are typically installed in the vehicle’s trunk in a rectangular shape rather than being a custom build. The fuel cell is strengthened with thicker metal and has many other safety features to prevent leaks and punctures, despite the fact that this may seem counterintuitive.

This makes a fuel cell ideal for weekend racers and professional drivers. You want to ensure that your fuel does not leak out and start a fire under these more risky circumstances, especially during a rollover.


  • Better for racing safety
  • You can choose how large you want your fuel tank to be
  • Can place the fuel cell anywhere in the vehicle, depending on where you want the weight
fuel cell vs gas tank


  • Not legal for street use
  • Heavier, which hurts gas mileage
  • Takes up room inside the vehicle

What is a Fuel Tank?

In your typical car, truck, and SUV, fuel is kept in a tank that is part of the vehicle. The fuel can be any substance that can be used to run an engine, including ethanol, diesel fuel, and gasoline.

The fuel tank that resembles this one is typically made of metal and is situated underneath the vehicle’s rear end, but it may be put wherever the manufacturer chooses within the car.

When the engine needs fuel to run, these tanks deliver it to it via a fuel pump. In general, a manufacturer makes a fuel tank specifically for each vehicle it produces.

They can take on a variety of strange shapes, allowing the tank to wrap or mold around other parts of the vehicle. This enables the addition of more fuel while also improving the weight distribution of the gas inside the car.


  • Custom-fit to your vehicle
  • You will never even know your fuel tank is on the car
  • Factory build is seamless


  • Can be punctured in extreme situations
  • Not as much protection in a roll-over situation

Why Would You Want a Fuel Tank over a Fuel Cell?

A fuel cell sounds pretty awesome, don’t you think? Better in cases of accidents and more puncture-resistant. For the transportation of gasoline, it isn’t always the best option.

In addition to taking up a lot of space, being expensive, and not being suitable for everyday use, fuel cells are prohibited from being used on roads.

You shouldn’t worry too much about fuel tanks because they are now constructed to be protected for everyday use on roads. Therefore, a fuel tank will be the best and most dependable option for 99.9% of people.

When to Replace a Fuel Tank?

Fuel tank malfunctions are rare because of the sturdy construction of the fuel tank. Drivers still have to put up with premature fuel tank replacement or maintenance. It is advised to get a replacement fuel tank if one of the following damages is discovered:

Fuel Tank Wear

fuel cell vs gas tank

Natural wear on the tank walls results from the fuel’s aggressive actions. Typically, this is true of metal fuel tank containers.

A Hole in the Wall of the Fuel Tank

When you drive carelessly on a bumpy road, a hole develops in the wall of a fuel tank. This frequently occurs while driving through terrain that is unpaved and has numerous sharp stones protruding from the surface.

Dents in the Fuel Tank

When your car’s bottom strikes the ground, such damage is to be expected. However, this can happen if the ventilation system malfunctions (a fuel tank vacuum forms, but the fuel pump keeps running).

Corrosion of Fuel Tank

In areas of deterioration, the walls of the fuel tank thin out. A crack forms and fuel starts to seep in when the damaged area can no longer withstand vacuum or vapor pressure. Corrosion, which is difficult to diagnose, can sometimes cause damage to the product’s top. But if there is such damage, the area around the car will always smell like gasoline.

Fuel Tank Container Depressurization at the Soldering Location

This usually results from a manufacturing flaw, like a poorly welded seam or poor anti-corrosion treatment.

Broken Thread

Rarely, this is due to manufacturing flaws at the filler neck. The fuel level sensor and fuel pump are installed where the thread separates. The bolts corrode over time because this part of the car is rarely repaired. The stud or nut thread breaks when a mechanic tries to unscrew them to replace a damaged component.

The Fuel Seals Weak

The construction of the fuel pump and the level sensor is where the fuel seals are found. Over time, the rubber materials that make up the fuel seal deteriorate. While maintaining the fuel pump because it is connected to it, it is advised to replace the fuel rubber seal.

Conclusion: Fuel Cell Vs Gas Tank

A fuel cell and a fuel tank differ primarily in their burst strength. Given their increased puncture resistance and other safety features, fuel cells are excellent for people who participate in a lot of racing.

Fuel tanks, on the other hand, are preferable for regular use because they are acceptable, simple to install, and take up less interior space. Fuel can easily spill during collisions or rollovers because fuel tanks have a very weak burst strength.


Are Fuel Cells Legal for Streets?

Fuel cells’ biggest drawback is that they are currently illegal on the majority of streets! Since there are no rules governing fuel cells, they can be mounted or installed in any way, which poses a risk to other vehicles on the road in the event of an accident.

Do You Need to Vent a Fuel Cell?

Fuel cells, fuel tanks, and all of them should be able to vent. This causes the fuel tank to release additional pressure and fumes that you wouldn’t want there.

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