Be super-careful with gas can usage


    By Greg Illes

    Gas cans aren’t dangerous, but gasoline certainly is. It burns with furious heat, runs all over the place when spilled, and can explode under some circumstances. It can be touched off with even a small static-electricity spark. Despite the dangers, many people elect to carry gas cans (with gas in them) for various reasons — generator gas, spare gas, ATV gas, etc.

    If you are going to carry gasoline in containers, there are some safety precautions that will help you avoid some of the most common accidents involving gasoline.

    • When filling or transferring, always electrically ground the gas can. Use a length of chain or metal cable so that static electricity cannot build up, or set the can on the ground. NEVER fill a can while it’s sitting (insulated) in a pickup bed.

    • Don’t carry your gas can(s) in places where they might be easily struck and ruptured in a vehicle collision.

    • Don’t use containers not intended for gasoline.

    • Don’t use containers that weep or leak. Even though they don’t lose much gas, they build up pockets of explosive fumes.

    • Keep gas cans secured, not just stowed away in a cargo bin.

    • When (not if) you spill, use cat litter or similar absorbent to help clean up. DO NOT use water to try to flush the gas away.

    If you are going to keep gas around for a while (more than a couple of weeks), you will want to add a fuel stabilizer in the correct ratio. This is essential to preserve the gas in its intended formulation and prevent it from degrading. This helps prevent rusting in metal cans, and makes your engine(s) run much healthier.

    DISCLAIMER: Please understand that this short article is not intended to be a comprehensive set of instructions. and the author cannot in any way be responsible for your safety in handling of gasoline. You alone must choose how to store, carry and use gasoline in a safe fashion. Be safe, not sorry.

    photo: Pixabay (public domain)

    Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at

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