Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on September 8, 2005. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Be careful hauling, storing gasoline
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Transporting gasoline to Hurricane Katrina victims may seem helpful, but the task actually is extremely dangerous.
Ted Gordon, a Mississippi State University Extension Service safety specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, urged people to keep safety in mind when filling containers with gasoline.
"The first thing to remember is to extinguish all smoking materials and turn off the vehicle engine," Gordon said. "It is also very important that you use nothing but a laboratory-approved, grounded metal or durable plastic container. The container must be red in color and should have a warning label regarding the dangers of gasoline."
Do not use a glass container because these may break or spill easily. Do not put gasoline in food or drink containers because children or other people could become confused about what is in the container.
"When filling the container, keep the nozzle in direct contact with the container. Fill only to 95 percent capacity to allow for heat expansion," Gordon said. "Fill the container on a flat surface, not in a vehicle. This removes the chance of spilling gasoline in your vehicle. Also, static electricity can build up if you fill the container in the bed of a truck."
Do not use the locking feature on a gasoline nozzle when filling a container. Fill the container slowly to limit static electricity buildup. When the container is filled, leave the nozzle in the tank for a few seconds to eliminate drips.
Herb Willcut, an agricultural engineer and Extension safety specialist, said transporting containers of gasoline also requires careful attention to safety.
"Before loading filled, portable gasoline containers into a vehicle, recheck the cap for tightness, and also check to be sure that the air vent cap is tight," Willcutt said. "Wipe the outside of the containers thoroughly to remove any residue of gasoline."
Secure the containers so they don't tip during transportation. Avoid exposing gasoline containers to direct sunlight and heat. Cover the containers with a tarp, if possible.
"Never transport gas in the passenger compartment of a vehicle because vapors that collect in the closed compartment could cause an explosion if ignited by a spark," Willcutt said. "When transporting gasoline, you must put out all smoking materials to avoid a possible explosion."
If all the gasoline is not used immediately, Willcutt said to store it in a well-ventilated shed away from the house and equipment. Use only approved containers for storage. Do not store gasoline in garages or other enclosed locations.
"Remember that gasoline is highly flammable and extremely dangerous. Always keep containers of gasoline out of the reach of children," Willcutt said.