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Gas Tanks Could Ignite When Refueling

Gas Tanks Could Ignite When Refueling

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Ed Yeates ReportingIn case you haven't noticed lately, service stations throughout the west have been labeling more than 10-thousand gas pumps with stickers warning motorists of a hazard we've never worried about before.

Amidst all the other labels on gas pumps these days, pay attention especially to this new one. If you're not careful, static electricity could blow you up.

Gerald Tedrow, Western Petroleum Marketing Association: "Just getting in and out of your car is one way to create static electricity. When you walk inside your house and touch something you know you've created electricity. The same thing is true in your car."

Though static fireballs like these still extremely rare, they're erupting just enough to warrant the new labels. So now, in addition to NO SMOKING and TURNING THE ENGINE OFF, when you pull up make sure your cell phone is off and leave it in the car. Once outside, as you start filling the tank, don't re-enter the vehicle. That could release a static charge.

Tedrow: “The best thing to do is stay right at your car and keep that nozzle right in the tank."

Remember, static electricity naturally occurs as gas flows through the hose, but it safely discharges through contact with metal on the nozzle and metal on the car. Don't fill up separate plastic gas containers in the bed of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car. Remove the container and fill it on the ground.

Why are we suddenly worrying about static electricity? Some experts say more manmade materials in our cars, on the seats, in our clothes and in the soles of our shoes are all contributing to the problem.

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