Gas cans for Dummies

Now that we have had our eighth snowfall of the season and I have been using an unprecedented amount of fuel to keep our snow blower running, I decided it was time to invest in a second gas can. I Figure this would save several trips to the local service station to refuel. Our current trusty and very functional plain old simple gas can, circa 1980’s has worked flawlessly for many years. Very simple to operate. I follow these simple steps. Step #1: Unscrew lid on can, fill will gas. Step #2: Pour into gas tank of snow blower. That’s it! Now have any of you purchased a new “state of the art, OSHA approved, gas can lately?

Seems when I went gas can shopping at the Home depot ( always good material for blogs) there are not a lot of options when purchasing a gas can. They are all red, they are all plastic (no more metal ones – like I have) , they all come with a detailed manual on how to operate them, and they are basically pretty darn cheap. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well so I thought.

On the way home , I stopped at the service center to fill our new gas can with fuel. You would think this would be a simple task. After trying for a few minutes to open the cap I actually had to read the instructions. Now, I find it amazing that I can take a computer apart and put it back together again but for the life of me I could not figure out how to open this darn, circa 2011, gas can. According to the manual, while pressing down , you have to squeeze the two sides and then twist in the opposite direction. Please explain to me why I can’t just turn the cap and be done with this. After several choice curse words, the cap came off and the can was fueled. Now that should be the end of my story. NOT

With all the snow we are having in NJ, it didn’t take long for the need to use our new gas can to arrive. Let me paint a picture for you. It’s bitter cold out, the wind is howling, I have been outside for over an hour plowing away. I have on a heavy coat, thick gloves, hat and scarf. The snow blower goes silent. Fuel has run out. Its time to fill the tank. I grab the new “OSHA approved” gas can. I unscrew the cap on the snow blower fuel tank. I place the nozzle from the gas can in the tank and gentle tilt upwards. NOTHING comes out! The gas can is full, but NOTHING comes out. HOW CAN THIS BE! Its freezing out, my hands and feet are numb and I cant get gas to pour from a gas can. Is this a bad dream? Am I imagining I’m outside in the snow? WHAT is going on?

Before hypothermia set in, I retreated to the garage. I pulled out the manual for the fuel can and turn to section 6, page 18, paragraph 46 which reads; “When attempting to pour fuel into an “OSHA approved fuel tank”, place edge of nozzle on lip of tank, press down gently while turning nozzle to the left and tilting can upwards.” Has anybody ever tried to do this in the bitter cold with thick gloves on? Now on my old can, you opened the lid and just poured . I wonder if the person who came up with this method for pouring fuel ever attempted to plow snow in the freezing cold! I challenge that person to attempt those steps while wearing gloves and standing outside in artic conditions.

Here is what happened next. I located my trusty old 1980’s gas can and a funnel. I took the new gas can, unscrewed the cap, according to the manufacturers instructions (section 3, page 18, paragraph 12) . placed the funnel in the old gas can and poured the fuel from the new can into the old one. I then took my old can of gas (now full of fuel) and filled the tank of the snow blower.

I’m sure there are several reasons why a gas can can has to be designed this way, but frankly I really don’t care. Some things are better left alone. Anybody want a new gas can, its yours.

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Published in: on January 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love the story Steve. You really hit a nerve whith me. Those new safty cans make fueling sooo much more dangerous. Now instead of just the risk of ovefilling the gas tank and spilling fuel everwhere; my guys have the additional opportunity to spill gas all over the place while filling. So much for OSHA protecting us from ourselves.

    • So I’m not crazy

      • I was adding gas to my lawn mower when the button popped and caused gas to splash into my eyes….that was awesome

  2. You are a few years behind. I had this experience a few years ago at a cabin in Pennsylvania. We use a generator for electricity and @ 10 PM it went silent. Well after having consumed some adult beverages, and being pitch black and cold, I finally sloshed enough fuel into the generator to fire it up. The rest spilled on my slippers, hands and the ground. Good thing EPA wasn’t watching!

    • I experienced the same thing when filling a lawn mower with a new gas can. I gave up and unscrewed the nozzle and poured the gas directly into the tank. How many hours and millions of dollars were “invested” in changing to this new, safer method?

  3. But , Steve, the new cans are so much safer and help the economy.
    Safer ? Because you can’t get the gasolene out of the can: thus you can’t hurt yourself. Help the economy ? Because you can’t get the gas out of the new can … you have to pay someone else to plow your snow: see … the gas cans are creating more jobs. LOL


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