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How to Fill and Transport a Gas Can the Right Way

There are a variety of instances where you might need to fill and transport gas. However, it’s no secret that gasoline can be dangerous. If you fail to fill a container and transport it correctly, you can create a serious situation. Luckily, safely handling gas is easy when you do it the right way.

Today, we’ll teach you how to fill and transport gas to keep you and anyone around you safe. Let’s get started!

Are Plastic Gas Cans Okay?

While plastic gas cans are less expensive, they’re not the best. They can do the job, but only for short periods. A metal gas can is best if you’re planning to store gas for extended periods (typically a month or more). Plastic gas cans tend to expand and contract due to temperature changes, making them nearly impossible to stack. In addition, fuel can leach into plastic gas cans over time. 

A plastic gas can will do the trick if you only need to store a small amount of gas for a lawn mower or miscellaneous projects around the house. Just don’t let it sit for too long without adding a fuel stabilizer to it.

How Long Does Gas Stay Good in a Gas Can?

Gas will typically last from three to six months in a gas can. However, it greatly depends on the environment where you’re storing the gas. Gas stored in extreme heat or direct sunlight will experience a shorter lifespan than gas in a more climate-controlled environment.

If you want to extend the life of your gas, add a fuel stabilizer. This additive helps reduce the chances of moisture accumulating in the fuel, which can clog your carburetor and gum up any sensitive components in your fuel system.

Pro Tip: Before you fill up your gas canisters, find out How Quickly Does Gas Go Bad?

Man filling RV gas tank with canister
While most people use plastic gas canisters, the ideal container will be made from metal.

How to Fill a Gas Can Safely

You must take safety seriously when filling a gas can. While it’s common sense that you shouldn’t smoke around gas, let this serve as your gentle reminder not to do it. Here are a handful of other tips to help keep you safe while filling your gas can.

Use Approved Container

You can’t put gas into just any container. Containers safe for storing gas are typically red and have an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) stamp on them. Gasoline is a harsh substance that can easily eat through unapproved containers. While some containers may hold your gas temporarily, you could find it sprouting a leak.

Place Container on the Ground

When filling an approved gas container, place it on the ground next to the pump. You should never fill it as it sits in the back of a truck or vehicle. The last thing you want to do is douse your vehicle in gasoline if something were to go wrong.

In addition, you should find a flat and level spot to place the container so it won’t shift or move while you fill it. If the container were to shift while you fill it, you could spill gasoline all over the ground and any surfaces around the pump.

Don’t Overfill

You likely want to get as much gas in your can as possible, but you don’t want to overfill it. To reduce the chances of overfilling the can, you should avoid using the trigger lock on the nozzle. Manually fill the container to about 95%. This will leave enough space for the container to expand and contract based on the changing temperature and conditions.

Turn Off Engine

One of the most important things you should do is turn off your engine when filling a gas can. Gas vapors can easily ignite and cause a situation that’s anything but safe. Your vehicle will stay warm at the gas station, so the engine and other important components will stay warm. Turning it off and on during this likely won’t cause any wear or tear.

Wipe Container Clean

No matter how hard you try, there’s a chance you’re going to spill a drop or two on the gas can when removing the nozzle. Most gas pumps have a supply of paper towels available nearby for users. Wipe the container clean to avoid gas sitting on the tank to keep it clean and safe.

Man putting has into transportable gas canisters
Always be careful when transporting your gas to ensure it is safely sealed.

How to Transport a Gas Can Safely

Once you fill your gas can, you’ll need to transport it to where you need to use it. Knowing how to transport a gas can safely is another essential piece of knowledge everyone should have. Here are a few tips for safely transporting gas.

Never Transport Gas Can in Passenger Area of a Vehicle

Transporting a gas can in the passenger area of your vehicle is not a good idea, and there’s a long list of things that can go wrong if you choose to do so. If you think getting dirt and sand out of your carpet is challenging, imagine a chemical as harsh as gasoline. However, the smell isn’t the only thing you’ll have to deal with. 

Not only does it smell incredibly strong, but it can ruin your carpet. Spilling gasoline on it will leave a stain behind that will be nearly impossible to remove. If you plan to trade or sell your car anytime soon, this could be a major problem.

Secure Gas Can

If you’re transporting a gas can, you need to secure it. Use bungee cords to secure it to your vehicle and hold it in place. This will prevent it from sliding around while you make turns or hit any bumps along the way.

Tighten Fuel Cap

You should always ensure the can’s cap is straight and tight. If your gas can tips over, you don’t want gas spilling out all over the place. Keeping the fuel cap tight also helps reduce moisture from getting into your gas and gas vapors from escaping.

Pro Tip: Need to fuel up? We found an essential app you should download now! Check it out: GasBuddy App: Why Every RV Camper Needs It.

Stay Safe Filling and Transporting Your Gas

You can never take safety too seriously when filling or transporting your gas. Even if you have been handling gas for years, a situation can occur in the blink of an eye. Your day can go from bad to worse before you know it if you aren’t careful with gas. 

Follow our tips for filling and transporting gas, and you’re sure to stay safe.

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