Gasoline is highly flammable. But gasoline as a liquid isn’t the danger—it’s the vapors that the liquid gives off that burn. And sometimes these vapors can travel a long distance to a source of ignition.
Be Safe at the Pump
Gasoline vapors are heavier than air. Vapors will settle to the ground and flow similar to a liquid. A gasoline/air mixture can be ignited by a hot surface, a smoldering object such as a cigarette, an open flame, or even a static spark. That’s why it’s always important to use extra caution at the pump:
- Always turn off your vehicle engine while refueling.
- Never smoke, light matches, or use lighters.
- Do not get back into your vehicle during refueling. If you must re-enter your vehicle, discharge static electricity buildup when you get out by touching the outside metal portion of your vehicle, away from the filling point, before attempting to remove the nozzle.
- To avoid gasoline spills, do not leave your vehicle unattended and do not overfill or top off your tank. The fuel dispenser will shut off automatically when the tank is full.
- When dispensing gasoline into a portable gasoline can, use only an approved container. Always place the container on the ground and keep the pump nozzle in contact with the container when refueling to avoid a static electricity ignition of fuel vapors. Containers should never be filled inside a vehicle.
- Practice good hygiene after handling gasoline. Wash hands and other areas that may have come in contact with gasoline. Avoid prolonged inhalation of fuel vapors.