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A mundane errand that can become deadly. Fueling attitudes and rules are discussed. Videos and advice are included to promote safety while fueling. A must read for everyone who drives a car.

To my dear roommates in this giant household we call America, G-8, the group of the eight rich nations, are set to meet again to discuss surging oil prices. Hopefully, this meeting will afford us some relief at the pump. Let’s not hold our breaths.

In some parts of the U.S., like California and New York, the consumer’s cost per gallon of regular 89 octane fuel is nearly $5.00. Our incomes have not gone up so we need to play games. Money games. We all are guilty of being preoccupied with the games we play in response to rising oil costs:

  1. Filling only $10 worth of fuel on a high price day hoping the gas prices will go down tomorrow,
  2. Filling on a warm day so you may get more gasoline for your dollar (it expands), and
  3. Driving clear across town to the station with the cheapest gas.

These games are preoccupying us from the most important rules about gas stations…Safety. In the past 2 months, I have seen ridiculously blatant disregard and lack of respect to the flammability of gasoline. No matter what we have to pay for it, gasoline is still as flammable and dangerous as it has always been.

Serving as a PSA, this is refresher course on how to properly fuel a vehicle, properly dress for fueling, and appropriate behavior while fueling. I have added a few videos warning what may happen if someone near you chooses not follow the rules.

The Rules

  • Turn OFF your cell phone. Static electricity forms when your cell phone rings, potentially causing a spark.
  • Do NOT re-enter your vehicle. Static electricity forms from opening your door and travels around the side of the vehicle, potentially causing a spark.
  • Do NOT leave the nozzle unattended. If the nozzle does not automatically click off, the spillover gas causes a fire hazard. Also, you are responsible to pay for any spillover fuel regardless of the reason. $$
  • Do NOT step or jump over the gas hose while fueling. The nozzle is not fixed to your car as it is easily removable when you hang it back onto the pump. Therefore, any tug on the line could pull it out of the vehicle spraying gasoline in your face, on your clothes and on the ground.
  • Do NOT let your children help. Children are eye-level or under to the gas tank. Usually, a small amount of gas will spill when inserted or removed from the tank. In warm weather, the gas expands and randomly causes puffs of gasoline to shoot out spontaneously. This is caused by patrons who “top-off” their tanks. An unsuspecting patron is usually the victim of this spillover. The spill ends up harmlessly on an adult’s arms and legs. If a child is standing there, they could be blinded.
  • Place portable gas tanks on the ground before and during fueling. Leaving the gas can on the bed of your truck is the extremely dangerous. The static that has accumulated from the tires while driving is very strong on the bed when it stops moving, potentially creating a spark. Holding the can in your hand poses static and instability issues. The ground is the safest place.

Static Electricity: News Report

Hindsight is 20-20 and even laughable to this women. I would not be laughing, would you?

Attire

One rule about attire, Ladies! As mentioned in the news report–No stockings, nylons or pantyhose. That pesky static electricity that causes static cling can start you on fire while fueling. Take them off or change clothes before stopping at the gas station to fuel.

Also, it is a great idea to touch an outside part of your car with your full palm before fueling. Make sure the area you touch is AWAY from the fueling point (gas tank). For example, you could touch the hood, trunk or side of the driver’s door. Like touching a doorknob in your house during the winter months, you get a shock. You may or may not get a little shock when you touch your car. The same physics rules apply. You are releasing the static electricity buildup.

When Nature Calls and You Have to Go

It seems the main attraction at a gas station is the loo. If you really have to use the restroom, stop your pump. Hang up the nozzle and come back to it. If you need to swipe your credit card a second time when you come back or the attendant has to restart your pump, that is okay. Or you can just hold it until you are finished pumping. Weigh your pros and cons. Under no circumstances should you leave your car unattended while fueling. (The only exception: Life or death. This does NOT include an “emergency” run inside to buy an Icee.)

Fireworks

It could happen to you.

Drive 10 MPH

Kids: While Mom or Dad are fueling, the kids get out of the car. They want a treat from inside or to stretch their legs. They run out about the gas station parking lot. Look for them!

Attendants: The gas station attendants are hard at work trying to keep us patrons safe, happy and the grounds tidy. Steer clear of them. Do not get too close to them with your car or ask them questions while they are out by the pumps. For their own safety and the safety of the patrons, they need to be able to stay alert while walking in between vehicles and islands. If you see an attendant outside, there will be one inside the station that may be able to help with directions or answer any questions you may have.

Gas Pumps and Propane Tanks: These are holding flammable gases. You do not want to lose control of your vehicle in a gas station parking lot.

Swerving to Miss a Child

This could happen to you too.

No Smoking

Smokers: Dispose of your cigarette out the window before you pull into the gas station parking lot. It is dangerous to smoke anywhere near a gas pump regardless of fueling status.

On a Lighter Note…

The lady in this video just does not “get it”.

Theft: Additional News

You think your car is safe from a break in because you are standing right there? Think again.

With all of the trouble and chaos we have had to deal with in the 2000’s, let us not add serious injuries while fueling to the list. This “mundane task” needs much more attentiveness paid to it. Safety first!