How to Safely Fill and Transport Gasoline Using a Gas Can

Keep gasoline in a gas can away from heat and potential sparks when transporting it in a vehicle. Learn more about gas can safety with this guide.
Written by Sarah Gray
Edited by Amy Bobinger
To fill a gas can, place it on the ground, outside your vehicle, and fill it to 95%–99% capacity. When transporting gas, ensure the cap is tightly secured, and keep the can out of direct sun and heat.
  • Place a gas can on the ground to fill it.
  • Ensure the cap is tightly secured when transporting
    any kind of gasoline
  • Avoid excessive heat when storing gas in a gas can.

How to fill a gas can

Use a proper gas can designed specifically to transport flammable liquid. Gas cans seal tightly to prevent leakage, and include a nozzle to deposit the gas into a vehicle’s fuel tank without spillage.
Step 1: Place the gas can on a flat surface outside the vehicle. This electrically grounds the can, ensuring there won’t be a spark from static electricity created by the flow of gasoline into the can.
Step 2: Unscrew the cap of the gas can and insert the fuel pump nozzle into the can. 
Step 3: Squeeze the trigger on the fuel pump nozzle to dispense the gasoline into the can. Fill the gas can 95% to 99% full with gasoline. leaving a little room to allow for fuel expansion.
Step 4: Replace the cap on the gas can. Make sure the cap is screwed on tightly.
Pro Tip: Fuel cans are often color-coded according to the type of gas they are designed to hold. Red is for gasoline while blue is for kerosene and yellow is for diesel fuel.

How to safely transport a full gas can

Step 1: Place the can upright in the trunk or truck bed of your vehicle. You may wish to tie the can in place with rope or secure it with a bungee cord to prevent it from falling over.
Step 2: Transport the full gas can to its desired destination promptly. Leaving a gasoline-filled can in the sun or heat is a fire risk, so minimize its exposure to such elements as much as possible.

How to safely store a full can of gas

  • Store full cans of gas outside your home, and, if possible, in a shed or detached garage.
  • Keep the gas can out of direct sunlight to avoid excess heat.
  • Do not leave gas cans in your car or inside your home. 
  • A full gas can poses serious fire risks, and vents toxic fumes when hot.
  • Gasoline is only good for about three to six months, even when properly stored. Old fuel can damage your engine.
Pro Tip: If you plan to store the gas, add a fuel stabilizer to prevent spontaneous combustion.

How to fill a car with a gas can

  • Take off the gas cap on your car, and remove the cap and nozzle from the gas can.
  • Insert the gas can nozzle into the gas tank.
  • Lift and tilt the gas can to pour fuel through the nozzle into the car’s gas tank.
  • When you’ve added sufficient fuel, remove the nozzle from the gas tank.
  • Stow the gas can nozzle and securely tighten the gas can cap.
  • Replace your car’s gas cap.
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