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How to Carry Gas in Your Car

by Samantha Volz

For many, carrying extra gas in a car can seem like a wise safety precaution; you never have to worry about running out of fuel if you carry extra with you. However, carrying gasoline in a car can be potentially dangerous. According to the National Ag Safety Database, one cup of gasoline can produce enough explosive vapors to match the power of five pounds of dynamite. If gasoline is stored or transported improperly, it can result in extreme injuries; if you cannot follow all safety precautions established by the National Ag Safety Database, you should not carry gas in your car.

1

Store gas only in Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) approved gasoline containers; many companies produce containers specifically designated for gasoline or for diesel fuel. Never use any other container to carry gasoline.

2

Fill the gas can only part of the way full of gasoline. Popular Mechanics magazine suggests that a 1-gallon container be filled with only 8/10 of a gallon, and a 5-gallon container with only 4 ½ gallons. Gasoline and its fumes will expand with temperature changes, and must have room in the container to do so.

3

Secure the gas can in an area of the car where it will not be free to roll around or tip over. A roof rack will allow for upright and secure storage in a well-ventilated area. If you must store the can inside the car, tie it tightly into place so that it cannot move. Turn the can so that the release valve is facing the back of the car; otherwise, a sudden stop can cause gas to leak out. The trunk of a car is not a good place to carry gas--vented fumes can accumulate.

4

Open a window near the gas can if you are storing the can inside your car; this will allow ventilation for potential fumes.

Warnings

  • Carrying extra gasoline in a car may be illegal in some states.
  • Do not carry extra gasoline in your car unless it is absolutely necessary for safety precautions. In most cases, the potential dangers outweigh the potential advantages. If you must transport extra gas, remove it from the car as soon as you arrive at your destination and store it in a secure, cool, dry place.
  • Never carry extra gasoline in the trunk of your car. These areas are especially prone to sparks in the event of a collision, and do not allow any ventilation for gas fumes to escape.

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About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

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