They say your blog should be informative instead of just entertain. Since I’m promoting my book Flirting in Traffic, which includes a fast, fun car, I thought I’d pass on a bit of knowledge you may or may not have known about something we all do–fill up our gas tanks.
Quiz: According to the American Petroleum Institute, over one hundred fifty fires have been started at gas pumps by A) cell phones B) static electricity or C) smoking
The answer to this one is B, static electricity. Despite a lot of urban legend about cell phone use at the gas pump, a cell phone has never been responsible for a fire under those conditions. Although the American Petroleum Institute says there is not one confirmed instance of a cell phone causing a fire at a gas station, cell phone manufacturers and gas companies both warn against using cell phones while refueling. When Exxon began mailing out information and decals to its 8,500 service stations in the U.S. in 1999 it told CNN that the risk of explosion is “extremely unlikely.” However, they decided to err on the side of safety. So I suppose we should too, eh?
According to AutoMedia, static electricity is a very real fire hazard at the fuel pump. “Static electricity may occur when a person filling their tank leaves the nozzle, gets back in their vehicle and rubs against the seats. When they return to the pump after refueling is complete, the built up static may discharge at the fill point, causing a brief flash fire with gasoline refueling vapors. To guard against this hazard, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) offers gas pump safety tips:
1. Do not get back in the car while refueling. If you must get back in the car, always touch a metal part of the vehicle such as the door or other metal surface away from the gas fill point before returning to the refueling area. Touching metal reduces the build up of static electricity and minimizes the likelihood of fire. Women should be extremely careful since 75 percent of the victims of gas pump static electricity fires are women who have gone back into their cars to tend to children, or to get their purse.
2. Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while refueling.
3. Turn off the engine during refueling.
4. Do not over fill or top-off your vehicle tank which can cause gasoline spillage.”
So there you have it. Since I learned about this, I’ve been a bit miserable standing outside in Chicago winters while I’m refueling, but…yeah. I do it anyway.
Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment to win a brand new download of my book Flirting in Traffic next Friday–well in advance of its March 3 release.
Have fun, and be safe!