Essential Tips on How to Fill a Gas Can

By Jacy Elsesser from Fix It Home Improvement

  1. When filling your gas can at a gas station, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends never filling up a gas can on a truck bed with a plastic liner or in cars with carpeted trunks or floors. This is because the can won’t be grounded. Flowing gas entering your gas can creates static electricity. The gas dispenser nozzle can create a spark and ignite the gas vapors.
  2. Be sure to follow these 6 tips & tricks on how to fill a gas can the safe way! The correct way to fill a gas can is to remove your gas can from your car or truck and place it on the ground about five feet from your vehicle. Gas vapor is heavier than air, so a hot exhaust manifold or catalytic converter can ignite the vapors.
  3. Before filling your gas can, always touch the metal on your vehicle to discharge any static electricity on your body. Keep the gas nozzle in contact with the gas can and fill slowly for less static electricity.
  4. Only fill your can 95% full to allow room for expansion. Add a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL® 360 Performance to the gas can every time you fill up to protect the fuel in your can. After filling your gas can up 95% of the way, top off the fuel with STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer.
  5. If you are transporting gas cans, keep them in the trunk or truck bed. In cars, keep the trunk slightly open with a bungee cord to reduce heat buildup and expansion in the gas can.
  6. Never add gas to a hot engine, it can ignite the gas vapors.


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  • Is most of the information about static electricity not as relevant now that most gas cans are plastic?

    • Actually, it is still relevant. Plastic can charge themselves with static electricity (try the balloon on your hair!). Now however, plastics canisters are made of a plastic that doesn’t charge itself well, if any, with static electricity. The concern is with the filling equipment (nozzles, pumps, etc.) more than anything.

      • thanks for the info guys. my concern is with static building up on the ride home. the container sits on a carpet in the trunk, and vibrates a little bit back and forth with the cars movements. is there anyway to ground the gas container once you get home? just place it on cement?

  • I have a 14 gallon “portable” tank that I put in my pickup bed to bring gasoline to my boat to fuel it. I’m 54 years old, that 88lb tank can be a bit of a challenge to lift into my truck alone. So, I fill it in the bed of the truck with a heavy braided wire attached to the plastic container. This braid runs down the the pavement where I keep a foot on it to provide bonding to the earth. Please give me your thoughts on that.

    • Joe. This is exactly what I was thinking about doing