The 8 Best Gas Cans
Packing In The Petrol: Get The Right Gas Can
And the right gasoline can makes dispensing fuel safe, clean, and easy.
These cans can be easily secured to a vehicle using ratchet straps or rope and are designed for the rough ride you may well give them.
It's always a wise idea to have some extra gasoline on hand, whether you want to be able to run the lawnmower without an extra trip to the gas station or you want to be sure you won't get stranded on the roadside if your vehicle's fuel tank runs low. However, storing gasoline, whether in your garage or basement or in the trunk of your vehicle, also means an increased chance for a potentially serious accident if you don't store the volatile fuel properly.
It's better to not keep gasoline around at all if you're more going to contain it safely. Fortunately, there are myriad gas cans available that can almost entirely mitigate the risk of an accidental spill and/or fire. And the right gasoline can makes dispensing fuel safe, clean, and easy. You simply have to choose the right can for your needs: you don't want to try to fill that one quart sized backpack blower's tank using a huge five gallon jerry can, after all.
If all you need is a reliable way to bring gas from the station to your home for filling lawn mowers, blowers, and other equipment (or for adding a gallon to a car's empty tank) then a look for a one or two gallon gas can made from a lightweight but durable material such as HDPE, or high density polyethylene. This type of material resist the corrosion gasoline can cause in other substances, resists cracks and punctures, and also is very affordable. You should be able to get a basic but well made gas can for about fifteen dollars.
For larger volumes of fuel, there are many different types of gas can available, and many of them have the same capacity: five gallons. In the five gallon category, you will find narrow, tall jerry can style gas containers (iconic of the military jeeps of the mid 20th Century) that are perfect for use on long road trips or for off roading adventures. These cans can be easily secured to a vehicle using ratchet straps or rope and are designed for the rough ride you may well give them.
Other five gallon tanks are designed for longer term storage of gas (which has its limits -- see below for more information on that) and are made with extra thick, durable materials like stainless steel. These options are often heavy and rather cumbersome, but worth the extra bulk for long term safe storage.
Finally, there are gas cans available that create a veritable filling station right there at your own home or business. These extra large gas cans can be operated with a pump handle that creates a steady flow of fuel, quickly filling the tank of your vehicle or machinery and even able to create a siphon to reverse the flow and drain fuel if needed. Expect to pay more than a hundred dollars for such a tank, but also expect more than a dozen gallon capacity and wheels for easy movement.
Safe And Proper Gas Can Use
Before you ever fill a gas can, first make sure you are about to use the right fuel. That means using fuel that is approved for safe storage in the type of gas can you own, and that the can has not previously been used for a different type of fuel.
Never overfill a gas can -- it is better to in fact purposely undersell the can slightly to ensure it does not overflow, spilling fuel.
Mixing diesel fuel with regular unleaded gasoline can lead to severe engine damage, for example. So too can using can in which fuel and oil have been blended for use in a device like a gas powered chainsaw lead to irreparable damage and even danger. Once a gas can has been used for one type of fuel, it should be used for only that one type of fuel going forward.
Once you know you are using the right container for the right gas, set the gas can on the ground and step away momentarily, finding something metallic that you can touch do release any static electricity that may be built up in your body. Then place the nozzle of the fuel pump into the gas container and commence filling the can. Never overfill a gas can -- it is better to in fact purposely undersell the can slightly to ensure it does not overflow, spilling fuel.
A filled gas can should be carefully sealed and, if possible, left outside and undisturbed for a time so any accidental drips of fuel can vaporize and disperse.
A Few Words About Fuel
Gasoline is the end product resulting from extensive distillation and refining of petroleum and the subsequent blending with multiple other components. In fact, the fuel you use in a a vehicle or machine contains no fewer than 500 hydrocarbons, or compounds made up of a balance of hydrogen and carbon atoms.
But even the best gas can in the world cannot store gas definitely.
Gasoline is frequently known simply as "gas" for a reason: it rapidly vaporizes if not properly housed, so a purpose built container that fully seals is a must for gas storage. But even the best gas can in the world cannot store gas definitely. Gasoline, being inherently volatile and being made from various blended components, will remain stable and fully safe for all uses for only around six months to a year under most circumstances.
Beyond that point, the separation of the various components begins to render gas less and less effective as a fuel source for internal combustion engines, but it is still highly combustible and flammable. Thus old gas, even that which has been ostensible stored correctly, is a liability for engines and a safety hazard -- or in other words, it must be disposed of.
Proper gasoline disposal is a must both for safety and environmental concerns. The only responsible way to get rid of old gas is to turn it over to a certified hazardous waste disposal facility, or else to bring the gas to a fuel filling station that accepts old fuel and oil. Many gas stations have programs to safely reclaim old fuels and motor oil, and in fact are obligated to do so in many states. Just know that turning in old fuel may necessitate surrendering your gas can; it's a small price to pay for doing the safe and environmentally friendly thing.