Static Electricity and Refueling

The Static Electricity Concern: Recently, organizations such as American Petroleum Institute (API) and Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) have begun compiling reports of refueling fires that cannot be attributed to the typical causes of refueling fires– smoking or leaving the engine running while refueling. Some of these fires appear to be attributable to static electricity. Below are some common sense precautions you can take to avoid static electricity while refueling.

Fueling the wrong way

Portable Gasoline Containers
Portable containers can build up a static electric charge during transport. Consequently, when the container is not placed on the ground for filling, its static electricity could be discharged, which could then result in a fire when filling begins. Therefore, place containers on the ground during filling and keep the nozzle in contact with the container. Do NOT leave a container inside a vehicle or its trunk, the bed of a pickup truck, or the floor of a trailer, etc. during refueling. Only use containers of an approved design.

fueling the right way
fueling the wrong way

Customer Vehicle Fueling
Do NOT re-enter the vehicle during fueling. Remain at the vehicle's fueling point even when using the nozzle's hold-open latch. Re-entering the vehicle could result in the customer becoming charged with static electricity, which could discharge when the customer returns to remove the nozzle, which in turn could result in a fire.

fueing the right way
fueling the wrong way

Cellular Phones and other Electrical Devices
While there seems to be no cases of refueling fires attributable to cell phone use, as a simple precaution, PEI recommends against using cellular phones and similar electrical devices while dispensing motor fuel.

fueling the right way

Updated: Friday, January 4 2008