How to Transport a Fuel Container

red jerry can and green gas pump

Everyone has seen a fuel can, and most people have had the opportunity to use one. Every fuel-powered vehicle needs to be re-fueled at some point, and it can be difficult or impossible to bring every implement to the fuel station to top it up when it’s required.

You may need to get a fuel container, also known as a jerry can, filled at a fuel station because:

  • The vehicle you are fuelling is for off-road use only
  • Your car ran out of gas
  • You need to refuel a chainsaw, lawnmower, or tractor at home
  • You need to fill a fuel tank for an immovable implement like a generator

Whatever the reason, and whatever type of fuel you need – gasoline, diesel, or kerosene – the process to fill up and transport a jerry can is the same.

Part 1 of 2: Transporting a fuel can safely

  • Warning: Transporting a fuel can safely is crucial. Great care should be taken whether your fuel container is full or just has fumes in it because:
  • Gasoline is highly flammable
  • Diesel fuel and kerosene are highly combustible
  • Fuel spills in your vehicle are extremely difficult to get rid of
  • Fuel fumes can cause dizziness, vomiting, and a combustible environment that can cause injury or death

gif of tightening the cannister

Step 1: Always fully secure the cap on the fuel can. Also secure the vent if the can is equipped with one.

If you transport a fuel container with one or both of the caps open, you run a risk of spillage and fumes entering your passenger compartment.

red fuel can securing it to trunk

Step 2: Place the fuel can in the trunk of your car or in the bed of your truck. Avoid placing a fuel container in the passenger compartment of your car or truck, even if it is empty.

The gasoline vapors can expand in the fuel can and push into the passenger compartment.

Step 3: Secure the fuel can upright. A fuel container should never be allowed to move around in your vehicle or tip on its side.

Use a bungee cord or net to make sure the fuel can stays upright. Secure the fuel can to the side of your trunk or truck box.

Step 4: Minimize the amount of time the fuel is in your vehicle. Fuel can be hazardous to your health and is an unnecessary risk to keep in your vehicle. Remove it as soon as you are able.

Part 2 of 2: Fill your jerry can safely

no smoking sign

  • Warning: Keep any heat sources such as open flame, lit cigarettes, or matches away from fuel containers of any kind. The fumes can ignite and cause injury or even death.

person standing beside open trunk

Step 1: Ground yourself. Before you touch the fuel container in your trunk or in the box of your truck, touch a metal part of your car.

This will discharge any static electricity you may have accumulated.

Step 2: Take the fuel container out of your trunk or truck bed. The fuel container must be on the ground to fill it up.

  • Warning: If the fuel is in your trunk and it ignites accidentally, your car will be engulfed in flames. There is a chance for static electricity to discharge if you are fueling up a gas can in the back of your vehicle.

Step 3: Select your grade of fuel. Always match the type of fuel to the correct container color.

  • Red fuel cans are for use with gasoline only.
  • Yellow fuel cans are for use with only diesel fuel.
  • Blue containers are only for kerosene.
  • Tip: Do not mix or re-label containers. If you need a container for diesel or kerosene and you only have a red fuel can, buy the appropriate-colored fuel container for your application. You may know what is in the fuel can, but others may not.

fuel nozzle touching side of gas can

Step 4: Touch the fuel nozzle to the side of the fuel container. If static electricity does discharge and ignite the fuel vapors, it’s better if it is outside of the fuel canister than inside where it can explode.

95% full

Step 5: Put the nozzle into the fuel can and fill the container. Fill the fuel container only to the “full” line. If there isn’t a “full” line, fill it no more than 95% full.

This leaves an airspace for expansion and contraction, ensuring fuel doesn’t spill while you are transporting it.

Use a low to medium fill rate from the nozzle so you can control the nozzle easier. Don’t use the trigger lock on the fuel nozzle or you can easily overflow the container.

  • Warning: Avoid inhaling the fuel vapors; they can make you dizzy or sick.

Step 6: Tighten the fuel cap tightly on the fuel container. If the fuel can has a vent cap also, tighten it completely.

Step 7: Put the fuel can in the trunk of your car or in the bed of your truck. Secure it to the side using a bungee cord, rope, or net to make sure it doesn’t tip over or slide around.

Make sure to remove the fuel can from your vehicle as soon as you possibly can. Knowing how to properly fill a fuel can will make it much easier for you to refuel your off-road vehicles or outdoor lawn implements. Following the steps listed above will ensure that you fill your fuel can in a safe manner.

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Fuel Handling Procedures

Static electricity related incidents at gasoline stations are extremely unusual, but they do occur.

The potential for a hazard is highest during cool, or cold and dry climate conditions. However, consumers should practice safe fueling procedures all year long.

Most importantly, people should not get back into their vehicle during refueling – even when using the nozzle’s hold- open latch.

Re-entering your vehicle during refueling increases the likelihood of a buildup of static electricity. When refueling is complete and you return to your vehicle fill pipe, the static may discharge at the fill point, causing a brief flash fire with gasoline refueling vapors.

Motorists who cannot avoid getting back into the vehicle during fueling, should always first touch a metal part of the vehicle, such as the door, orsome other metal surface, away from the fill point upon exiting the vehicle.

Additional refueling safety guidelines include:

• Turn off your vehicle engine while refueling. Put your vehicle in park and/or set the emergency brake. Disable or turn off any auxiliary sources of ignition such as a camper or trailer heater, cooking
units or pilot lights.

• Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while refueling at the pump or when using gasoline anywhere else.

• Never mix gasoline with kerosene or diesel fuel.

• Use only the refueling latch provided on the gasoline dispenser nozzle – never jam the refueling latch on the nozzle open.

• In the unlikely event a fire occurs when refueling, leave the nozzle in the fill pipe and back away from the vehicle. Notify the station attendant immediately.

• Do not overfill or top off your vehicle tank, which can cause gasoline spillage.

• Avoid prolonged breathing of gasoline vapors. Use gasoline only in areas that get plenty of fresh air. Keep your face away from the nozzle or container opening.

• When filling a portable container, manually control the nozzle valve throughout the filling process.

• Fill a portable container slowly to decrease the chance of static electricity buildup and minimize spilling or splattering.

• Only store gasoline in approved containers as required by federal or state authorities. Never store gasoline in glass or any other unapproved containers.

• When dispensing gasoline into a container, use only an approved portable container and place it on the ground when refueling to avoid a possible static electricity ignition of fuel vapors.

• Containers should never be filled while inside a vehicle or its trunk, the bed of a pickup truck or the floor of a trailer.

• Fill container no more than 95 percent full to allow for expansion.

• Place cap tightly on the container after filling – do not use containers that do not seal properly.

• If gasoline spills on the container, make sure that it has evaporated before placing the container in your vehicle.

• Report spills to the attendant.

• When transporting gasoline in a portable container make sure it is secured against tipping and sliding, and never leave it in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car
• Never siphon gasoline by mouth nor put gasoline in your mouth for any reason. Gasoline can be harmful or
fatal if swallowed. If someone swallows gasoline, do not induce vomiting. Contact a doctor immediately.

• Use gasoline as a motor fuel only. Never use gasoline to wash your hands or as a cleaning solvent.

• Never allow children to operate the pump.

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Fuel Station Safety Checklist

1.1 Is house-keeping ok? No rubbish, grass cut, no blocks to entry/exit. Landscaping well maintained, Inspect perimeter.
1.2 No pillage visible. Check fuel delivery area & forecourt surface.
1.3 No loose fittings at fill & dip points of underground storage tanks. Inspect all fill & dip points.
1.4 Interceptor working (hint: look for oil flowing out of it). Check if sludge is removed based on cleaning schedule.
1.5 Compressor room clean & tidy (water drained daily from pressure vessel). Lights working & no materials stored.
1.6 Electrical room clean, no loose wires, panels/breakers completely labeled. Check if ELCB is available/working.
1.7 Toilets clean, lights working, taps working door locks working, windows/doors clean, signs in place & in good condition.
1.8 If at night, check that site is well-lit, inspect lights at canopy fascia, under canopy, perimeter, all signages and building exterior.

2.1 Is house-keeping ok? No rubbish, no slippery flooring.
2.2 Safety signage in place (no smoking, no mobile phone, switch off engine, no motorbike straddling, no unprescribed containers).
2.3 Extinguishers available (check service dates, seals, pressure gauge). Inspection tags provided & with inspection markings.
2.4 No leaks at pumps & break-away couplings. Inspect pump base inside the panel cover to check traces of leaks.
2.5 Are forecourt services in good condition? (i.e. no trip hazards due to potholes & large cracks, no surface water accumulation.
2.6 Are there sand buckets with sweet sand or spill kits? Sand bucks are clearly marked and no rubbish inside the buckets.

3.1 Is house-keeping ok? No rubbish, no slippery flooring at oil change stations & carwash area.
3.2 Used oil is collected/stored, disposal monitored & recorded, collected by govt. authorized used-oil collector.
3.3 Check electrical wiring if manual car wash & ELCB is available/working.

4.1 Is house-keeping ok? No rubbish, no slippery flooring.
4.2 First aid kit stocked, certified First Aider available per work shift. Check certificate if updated.
4.3 Is there a safe and is it currently locked.

5.1 Are food servers/preparers properly attired (i.e. hair nets, aprons). Are they trained on Food Safety. Check training log.
5.2 Check food expiry dates & check fast food freshness.
5.3 Is there a regular schedule for calibration of temperature gauges on equipment?
5.4 Is there a check thermometer available & calibrated?
5.5 Are foods stored separately from chemicals and dangerous goods?
5.6 Is hand washing facilities present? (i.e. dedicated sink for hand washing, liquid hand soap, disposable paper towel/hand dryer).
5.7 Is there a regular schedule for monitoring temperature gauges on food equipment? 1-4C for chillers; min 65C for warmers; – 18C for freezers.

6.1 Is house-keeping ok? Clean, no unsafe stacking of boxes, i.e. small/light packs on the top shelf.
6.2 Aisles & doors clear and accessible.

7.1 Staff in appropriate working attire (i.e. wearing shoes, not slippers, for example).
7.2 Ask one work to explain how to use fire extinguisher.
7.3 All staff participated in actual fire-fighting drill? Check training log.
7.4 Ask one worker to explain emergency procedure e.g. robbery or fire.
7.5 Ask one worker to show the location of main emergency stop button & pump ESD. Check record of ESD Testing done by the dealer.

8.1 HSSE Training manuals & records available. Check training log.
8.2 Emergency procedures and call numbers available (posted conspicuously).
8.3 Safety meetings held. Show the minutes. At least, conducted monthly with all site staff in attendance.
8.4 Incident reporting system in place. Show the incident reports for last 6 months including Near Misses/Potential incidents.
8.5 Hardware maintenance records in place. Records should contain call time by the Dealer & actual response time by contractor.
8.6 Are wet stock records ok? Last months mogas loss <0.5% of sales. Check if reconciliation is done daily for all UGT’s.
8.7 Show the site HSSE Quick Checklists. Dealer should conduct weekly checks.
8.8 Show the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Check if MSDS for all products i.e. fuels, lubes, coolants are available.

9.1 Check any additional or potential risk on site.

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