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Week Three Flirting in Traffic Contest, Better Safe than Sorry
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009


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!

23 comments to “Week Three Flirting in Traffic Contest, Better Safe than Sorry”

  1. Lynda
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 pm · Link

    I actually knew this one! They get a little freaky at our pump if you want to fill up a container for the lawnmower or boat. Has to be a specific container and has to be on the ground. She (one specific lady) has already tried to get my husband to remove his inboard tank. The thing is built into the boat!

  2. Becky Ward
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 4:20 pm · Link

    I knew this one too. You would be surprise by how many people just don’t think when they are getting gas though. I still won’t use a cell phone, when I am getting gas though.

  3. Allison
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 4:25 pm · Link

    Hi Beth, followed you here from you post on the Joyfully Reviewed group. And I didn’t know about this. Another good reason to leave the gas fill to my husband, especially as when I’m driving I usually have the little one in the back seat! Thanks!

  4. Val Pearson
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 4:58 pm · Link

    I didn’t know all that until the other night they had a video of a truck exploding. Thanks for posting that one, people really need to know that stuff!

  5. Fedora
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 5:31 pm · Link

    Wow, Beth–a few tips I didn’t know! Thanks 😉 And congrats on Flirting in Traffic! Now, THAT’s exciting!

  6. Jane
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 6:12 pm · Link

    Those are great tips. You can never be too careful.

  7. Beth Kery
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 6:14 pm · Link

    Lynda and Becky, good for you for having read about it. I didn’t learn about it until about a year ago, when a good friend who has a high-ranking job listened to a guest speaker at a huge conference-a top exec from an oil company–and his whole spiel was on this. At a huge conference!

    Allison…yeah, eerie to know that it’s more likely to happen to women. Glad you stopped by!

    Val and Fedora– I never know if I’m being paranoid, but I do actually believe there’s reason for caution in this instance.
    Nice to see you two!

  8. Lea
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 6:24 pm · Link

    Hey Beth:

    Great to know facts. I had heard about the static electricity issue previously. I’m pleased to know that the cell phone one is urban legend because I had heard it as fact.

    You are not alone with the standing outside during cold winters, I hate refueling in Canada for that very reason – frozen to the bone!

    Looking forward to “Flirting In Traffic”. 😀


  9. Barbara
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 7:31 pm · Link

    Hi, Beth!! Lea from Closetwriter sent me over! Great contest and great words of advice 🙂

  10. Blanche
      · February 22nd, 2009 at 7:36 pm · Link

    Hi Beth!!

    All great tips and I have to tell you I’ve seen people abuse every single one of those and it makes me crazy when I’m behind them waiting to get gas!!!

    I’m so looking forward to this new release! Happy Sunday!! 😀

  11. beth kery
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 7:23 am · Link

    Hey there, Lea. Yeah, not fun to wait outside in this blasted weather when your filling up. Spring…we need you!

    Hi Blanche and Barbara! Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great week!

  12. Dottie Taylor
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 9:00 am · Link

    Hi Beth,

    Your book sounds great, enter me in the drawing!! Actually, my dad’s a mechanic and he always told me what to do when filling my car (he has seen his share of gas fires including some lady who drove off with the pump still in the gas door)! Thanks for the great contest.

    Dottie 😆

  13. Cynthya
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 12:21 pm · Link

    I knew #2-4 but did not know about static electricity being a danger. I will definitely be more careful from now on! Good luck with Flirting in Traffic–not much longer to wait now. 😀

  14. Afshan
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 12:31 pm · Link

    WOW Beth,
    I had no Idea static electricity could be so dangerous at the gas pump, I will definitely be more carefull of what I do at the pump.
    Thanks for looking out for us.

  15. Laura B
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 3:47 pm · Link

    I would have thought the answer was C! I never thought that static electricity would cause fires. I’ll have to remember that the next time I get gas.

    Thanks for the information!

    Laura B

  16. Tracy
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 6:04 pm · Link

    Hi Beth,

    I have to admit I already knew about static electricity being a hazard at the pump, but I am guilty of getting back in the car when it’s cold outside. I do remember to touch the metal before I go back to the pump. So far, so good!

    Many congrats on the new release.


  17. beth kery
      · February 24th, 2009 at 2:23 pm · Link

    Hi Dottie, OMG, I’m sure your dad has seen a ton. lol.

    Hey there, Tracy. Well at least you take precautions. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

    Afshan and Cyntha–I’m glad you learned a tidbit. It might not be the sexiest blog ever–lol–but it’s always nice to find out something you didn’t know. Very glad you visited!

  18. Carolyn Jean
      · February 25th, 2009 at 8:57 am · Link

    Well, you learn something new every day. Thanks for this public service. And also, a big CONGRATS on the AAR poll!!

  19. Sue
      · February 25th, 2009 at 12:07 pm · Link

    Hi Beth!

    I know about the static electricity. I did not you that leading cause for explosion. I always thought that it was smoking near the pump. I guess I will be more careless.

    Thanks for sharing.

  20. beth kery
      · February 25th, 2009 at 3:21 pm · Link

    Hi Sue! Yeah, weird, huh? I was reading about this woman whose hair just went up because of hair spray after static electricity ignited with the fumes. Scary.

    Carolyn Jean–Hi! Thanks so much about the AAR poll. I was shocked. For a new author, it’s quite an honor to be in company like that.

    😀 😀

  21. Emily
      · February 25th, 2009 at 4:03 pm · Link

    Hi! I saw a news report about this, and I interned at a burn hospital. Great PSA! LOL on standing out in the cold, although I live in ND, so it’s a little colder. I just avoid the gas pump and my hubby fills up for me every time I need more. 🙂 I call him my personal gas attendant stud!
    congrats on the release!

  22. Cathy M
      · February 25th, 2009 at 4:53 pm · Link

    Since I am the only one in my family who creates static electricity every single time I get in and out a non-leather car seat, my brother hammered this home to me years ago.

  23. Carol L.
      · February 26th, 2009 at 6:06 am · Link

    😀 Hi,
    I came over from the Love Romance Cafe
    newsletter. These tips are amazing. Everyone should heed them just to be safe.
    Carol L.

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