Transporting 20 gallons of gas in your trunk and storing in your back yard in the open air question


L

LM

Since this is California, the state which has more laws than the whole
rest of the country combined, it might be illegal to haul more than
one 5 gal. can in your trunk.
EPA web site says nothing about any specific volume for long term gasoline
storage.
http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-summer.htm

Using and Storing Gasoline In the summer, lots of portable containers are
used to store and transport fuels for lawnmowers, chainsaws and
recreational vehicles. These portable containers can emit hydrocarbons; in
addition, spills can leak into ground water. Here are some tips to follow
to reduce these concerns:

Use Proper Containers Use only containers approved by a nationally
recognized testing lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Containers
should be fitted with a spout to allow pouring without spilling and to
minimize the generation of vapors. Always open and use gasoline containers
in a well-ventilated area away from children and animals.

Fill Cautiously Fuel equipment on a hard surface such as concrete or
asphalt and use a funnel and/or spout to prevent spilling or splashing when
fueling lawn and recreational equipment and always fuel outside where there
is adequate ventilation to disperse the vapors

Store Carefully Store as little gasoline as possible and be certain
to keep your gasoline container properly sealed. Store the gasoline in a
cool, dry place and never in direct sunlight. Store at ground level to
minimize the danger of falling and spilling. Do not store gasoline in a car
trunk. There is a threat of explosion from heat and impact. Do not store
gasoline in your basement.

Avoid Spills Avoid spilling gasoline on the ground, especially near
wells. If a small spill occurs use kitty litter, saw dust or an absorbent
towel to soak up the spill, then dispose of it properly

Dispose Properly Do not dispose of gasoline down the drain, into
surface water, onto the ground, or in the trash. You should check with your
town concerning using your local household hazardous waste collection for
safe disposal of excess or old gasoline.
 
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L

LM

OSHA says the cans need to be 5 gallons or less in order to transport.

http://simplifiedsafety.com/blog/does_your_gas_can_meet_osha_requirements/

But they say nothing about how many you can transport at the same time or
where you have to put the cans.

Here's what it says.

OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.152(a)(1) states "Only approved containers
and portable tanks shall be used for storage and handling of flammable and
combustible liquids. Approved safety cans or Department of Transportation
approved containers shall be used for the handling and use of flammable
liquids in quantities of 5 gallons or less.

Anytime the word "shall" is used in a regulation, it means that this
rule is mandatory and must be followed.

What is an approved safety can or DOT gas can?

A safety can is (29CFR1926.155(1) an approved, closed container, of not
more than 5 gallons capacity, having a flash arresting screen, spring
closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve
internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.

Approval is given by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, for
example, Underwriters' Laboratory, Inc.

Gas cans can only display DOT approval markings when they meet
stringent Department of Transportation requirements. Here is where it gets
confusing, inexpensive plastic gas cans may meet EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency) requirements, but they do NOT meet DOT rules. Some gas
cans may say they meet CARB spill-proof regulations in certain states or
AQMD (Air Quality Management
District) rules. Again, this doesn't help when trying to comply with
OSHA. None of these other regulatory agencies are the same as DOT. They
are not interchangeable.

If your head isn't already spinning, one last point. If you are
looking for a UL "approval", you will see the following words on the
product, UL Listed. If your can has a UL Classified marking, this is not
the same as UL Listed (approved). If you want more information about UL
markings, go to http://tinyurl.com/pxb9dt
 
T

TimR

Then there are BLEVE's, or boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion, which
is called an explosion, but it is just still another rapid combustion, but
these usually occur within vessels that keep the pressure in until something
lets go.
If you're going to get nitpicky, I will too. A BLEVE is a mechanical
explosion; it does not require combustion at all. Water can BLEVE in
the right container, as the Mythbusters have proven.
 
L

LM

I also personally wouldn't carry that much gas in the trunk.
OSHA regulations exerpts from
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=10673&p_table=STANDARDS

1926.152(a)(1): Approved safety cans or Department of Transportation
approved containers shall be used for the handling and use of flammable
liquids in quantities of 5 gallons or less ...

1926.152(b)(1): No more than 25 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids
shall be stored in a room outside of an approved storage cabinet ...

1926.152(b)(2): Quantities of flammable and combustible liquid in excess of
25 gallons shall be stored in an acceptable or approved cabinet meeting the
following requirements ...

1926.152(b)(3): Not more than 60 gallons of flammable or 120 gallons of
combustible liquids shall be stored in any one storage cabinet. Not more
than three such cabinets may be located in a single storage area.
Quantities in excess of this shall be stored in an inside storage room.
 
L

LM

It's a local thing:
CARB (California Air Resource Board) states
http://www.pfcma.com/States_Compliance.htm

CARB/OTC Portable Fuel Container & Spout Regulation
Updated Apr 2008

State: Transition Date: Full Compliance Date
California Jan-01-00 Jan-01-01 Phase II regulation: Jul-01-07
Delaware Jan-01-02 Jan-01-03
Maryland Jan-01-02 Jan-01-03
New York Jan-01-02 Jan-01-03
Pennsylvania Jan-01-02 Jan-01-03
Maine Jan-01-03 Jan-01-04
Virginia Jan-01-05 (specific counties only)
Connecticut May-01-04 May-01-05
Washington DC Jan-01-05 Jan-01-06
New Jersey Jan-01-05 Jan-01-06
Texas Jan-01-06
New Hampshire Mar-01-06 Mar-01-07
Ohio Jul-01-07
Massachusetts Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is
awaiting implementation of the U.S. EPA nation-wide Portable Fuel Container
Rules scheduled for January 2009.
Rhode Island Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is
awaiting implementation of the U.S. EPA nation-wide Portable Fuel Container
Rules scheduled for January 2009.
Vermont The VT DEC (Dept of Environmental Conservation) is awaiting
implementation of the U.S. EPA nation-wide Portable Fuel Container Rules
scheduled for January 2009.
Illinois The IEPA is currently awaiting implementation of the U.S. EPA
nation-wide Portable Fuel Container Rules scheduled for January 2009.
National EPA Administrator signed proposed rule similar to CARB's revised
rules. Implementation date is January 2009
 
T

TimR

Actually, the possibility of a leak might be a bigger risk than any
fire hazard.

Your neighbor doesn't know how leak proof your containers are. You
might be able to prove it to him.

But think about it. If he has a well, and you drip a little gasoline
into the groundwater, he just lost his water supply.

Even if no well, if you contaminate the groundwater under his
property, he can no longer sell his house. You're probably liable for
his property loss as well as an environmental cleanup.

And if you're storing your gasoline perfectly, but the guy before you
dripped gasoline into the groundwater, you may have trouble proving it
wasn't you.

Of course that's true if you keep your gas cans in the shed too. But
your neighbor won't know.
 
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L

LM

An acreage or small farm will naturally require more maintenance and
of course more gasoline or diesel. I have a 300 gallon gas tank
Transportation of Hazardous Materials - Recent Laws & Regulations

HM-200; TITLE:"Hazardous Materials in Intrastate Commerce; Technical
Amendments"; Final Rule; Effective Date 02/18/98; Published 02/18/98; 63 FR
8140.

SUMMARY: On January 8, 1997, RSPA published a final rule which amended the
Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to expand the scope of the
regulations to all intrastate transportation of hazardous materials. ... In
this final rule, RSPA is: Correcting a date for States to develop
legislation authorizing certain exceptions recognized in the HMR;
clarifying packaging requirements for hazardous materials transported for
agricultural operations; correcting size requirements for identification
number markings; and clarifying that the provisions for use of
non-specification cargo tanks apply to transportation of gasoline.
 
J

Jim Elbrecht

Vic Smith said:
Don't know about storage. Others are citing rules.
I keep plastic 5 gallon, 2 gallon and 1 gallon containers in my
garage, tucked away under the workbench.
Just curious-- Do you ever weld, solder, grind, hammer metallic
things, or use power tools at that workbench?

I keep a 10-20 gallons gas in my garage, too-- but it is in a no-work
zone between two garage doors. Even at that I think I would be smart
to move it to its own little shed.

Jim
 
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S

salty

You'd be surprised how far you can jump when the boat's on fire.
Yeah, a middle aged couple jumping 30 feet and breaking bones landing
in water would be a bit of a surprise.
 
L

LM

And your point is? That there is no ignition source ...?
The point was to find whether gasoline, stored next to a fence, in approved
5-gallon containers, would ignite.

With an ignition temperature over 800 degrees F (MythBusters seems to think
it's only 500 degrees F so I'm not sure why the descrepancy), it's not
likely the gasoline will ever get hot enough, without a flame, to
spontaneously erupt simply stored against the fence.

Stored in a vehicle truck bed or closed trunk (or in the vehicle gas tank
for that matter), is a whole 'nother story because there could be leakage
and sparks and friction after a crash. But, a crash is a crash and is a
dangerous thing no matter what. If we're so worried about crashes, we'd
never drive anywhere so we have to take that risk in hand.

Assume someone drives 15K miles a year, for 50 years, that's 750K miles in
a lifetime. Assume in that lifetime, they have, how many? Maybe two, maybe
three accidents? Let's say five accidents just to be aggressive.

That's an accident every 150K miles. But you don't store the gas in the
trunk all the time; just to and from the gas station, which, for our sake,
we'll call 15 miles round trip.

I'm not sure how to do statistics, but, 15 miles out of 150,000 miles seems
like a percentage of about 0.01%. So, for any given fifteen miles that
you're carrying gasoline in your trunk, you have a non-zero (but pretty
small) chance of having an accident; and in that accident, you have a
smaller (but still non-zero) chance of having it blow up on you.

All in all, unless someone comes up with better math, I think you have a
better chance of having a heart attack than having your gas blow up on you
on that one trip to the gas station.

Still, I can't find what the laws are for California for transportation.
The Caltrans (DOT) site was miserable.
 
L

LM

But you said containers of less than five gallons re: storage.
What about transport? You say nothing about that.
I'm trying. I'm trying. :)

My husband fills my car with gas all the time from Costo runs he makes with
his car. He fills up his sedan plus four five-gallon cans at the Costco
pump. The advantage is he waits on line once but gets to fill up two cars.
The advantage to me is I never ever have to fill my gas.

So I'm also interested in the law. The Costco gas attendant can't possibly
not be seeing him do this for years. They never say anything. Neither has
anyone else. You'd think a cop or two would have been on line waiting at
some point or another. Or the trucker who fills up the huge gas tanks would
mention something.

Looking for the law, I scoured the Caltrans (fancy name for the California
DOT) web site for hours. I can't find a single document that says what the
law is for transport of gasoline in portable storage containers for
personal use.

I'll keep looking. It frustates me that something so simple is so hard to
find the law for.
 
L

LM

You cited about 5 gallon containers for handling.
Nothing stated there about storage.
I'm trying. I really am. I want to know myself what the law is.

I gave up on the California DOT (aka Caltrans) web site as its search
mechanism is a mess.

I googled for "California law gasoline portable storage container
transportation and storage"

It's really hard to find the law on storage and transportation of 5-gallon
gasoline containers! :(

This PDF, for example, titled "Portable Storage Containers"
(http://groups.ucanr.org/ehs/files/54035.pdf ) is typical in that it gives
suggestions, but, only one law is mentioned related to storage, and it
isn't what we're looking for (we're looking for a volume limitation).

It says "A safety can made of a heavy-gauge metal and having a cap that
automatically closes to prevent a spill if the can is dropped or tipped
over is required, under California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section
3319, for storing flammable liquids like gasoline."

So, I'm still looking for any California law that covers:
- How many gallons (if any limit exists) you can carry in your trunk
- How many gallons (if any limit exists) you can store 'along a fence'

We all know you can carry gas in your trunk; and you can leave it along
your fence; the only question is whether or not there is a legal volume
limit.
 
C

chaniarts

LM said:
I'm trying. I'm trying. :)

My husband fills my car with gas all the time from Costo runs he
makes with his car. He fills up his sedan plus four five-gallon cans
at the Costco pump. The advantage is he waits on line once but gets
to fill up two cars. The advantage to me is I never ever have to fill
my gas.

So I'm also interested in the law. The Costco gas attendant can't
possibly not be seeing him do this for years. They never say
anything. Neither has anyone else. You'd think a cop or two would
have been on line waiting at some point or another. Or the trucker
who fills up the huge gas tanks would mention something.

Looking for the law, I scoured the Caltrans (fancy name for the
California DOT) web site for hours. I can't find a single document
that says what the law is for transport of gasoline in portable
storage containers for personal use.

I'll keep looking. It frustates me that something so simple is so
hard to find the law for.
i suppose you could devolve to an old fashioned method. do you have a phone?
perhaps you could call them up.

frankly, if it's not a citable law, they can't write a ticket for it, making
the limit be...as much as you want.

there really isn't a law or regulation for everything, even though it
sometimes seems so.
 
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B

Bill Murphy

There are lots and lots of variables here. But the one constant is that gas
is very flammable, and extremely easy to ignite by several normal every day
methods, including static electricity from a poofy sweater.
I think we've answered one of the questions:
Is it all that dangerous to keep 20 gallons of gas in the back yard?

We all know that there are plenty of dangerous things we keep around our
house (I have 1,000 gallons of propane in a tank ten feet away from the
house, for example), and gasoline in portable storage containers is one of
those things nearly every one of us has in our garage or shed.

As far as I've read in this thread, the only limits I have in storage
(besides common sense) are the ones from OSHA which I'm well within.

But I don't think we have been able to answer the second question:
Is it illegal to trasnsport more than 5 gallons (California) in a car?

I'm searching the California codes as we speak and can't find anything
telling me how many 5-gallon gas jugs we can carry in the trunk of a car:
http://law.justia.com/california/codes/veh.html
 
L

LM

perhaps you could call them up.
Whom would you call?

I can imagine the phone call now ....

"Hello, Caltrans switchboard ... what extension please?"
-> Lisa: "Um... I don't know what extension. I just want to look up a law".
"What extension please, maaam"
--> Lisa: "Um ... I don't know. I'd like to ask a question about gas laws"
"I asked the question first, maaam. What extension please?"
--> Lisa: "Um ... I really don't know whom I want to talk to. Someone who
can answer a question about how many gallons of gasoline you can carry in
the trunk of your car"
"What extension please"
....

And so on ... like a broken record ...
 
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B

Bill Murphy

Is it illegal to trasnsport more than 5 gallons (California) in a car?
This seems to be a decent California laws search engine:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

But it only found the previously mentioned law regarding transportation of
more than 120 gallons of gasoline in California at a time.

At this point, there seems to be no specific law in California regulating
the transportation (or storage) of gasoline in 5 gallon cans.
 

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