How to Avoid Causing a Fire at a Gas Pump From Static Electricity

I recently viewed a documentary on TV reporting on how motorists are unwittingly sparking fires at gas pumps with static electricity. Among other tragic incidents, a woman lost her life while pumping gas at a station near Tulsa, Oklahoma, when static electricity that she generated sparked a blaze that went out of control.

As explained by experts, static electricity fires at gas stations are caused when drivers get back into their cars while the gas is still pumping. By getting into their seats, they are building up static electricity (just like rubbing your feet on the carpet and touching a door knob). That static electricity can turn dangerous when a driver goes back to the nozzle. As vapors come out, touching the nozzle can spark a fire.

The way to get rid of static electricity before touching the nozzle is to touch the door of your car (some gas stations now offer a decal at the pump that can also be touched).

And if a fire should start, do NOT remove the nozzle from the car. That could cause an even bigger fire. Instead, remove any people from the car, and get away from the car as fast as possible.

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