Gasoline fueling and static electricity hazards

Wednesday, 24 July 2002

This is an interesting email regarding gasoline fueling hazards forward to EH&S. The original email had some inaccurate points regarding gender, footwear and cell phones which have been removed. You can find additional useful information on static charges and dispensing of flammable liquids on the web links.

The Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try to make people aware of fires as a result of static electricity at gas pumps. They have researched 150 cases of these fires. The results indicate:

  1. Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas, when finished and they went back to pull the nozzle out the fire started, as a result of static.
  2. It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
  3. There were 29 fires where the vehicle was reentered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models, some resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
  4. Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.


  • NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas.
  • If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

The Petroleum Equipment Institute along with several other companies are trying to make the public aware of this danger. You can find out more information by going to

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, concerns about cell phones, rubber soled shoes and other comments can be found on the main index to static hazards by clicking the center of the screen where it says "Stop Static" or by going directly to


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