Gasoline is an important part of our everyday lives. It lets us run our cars and trucks, getting the kids to school and the groceries home. It helps us keep our grass and gardens looking good, powering mowers and lawn care equipment. It lets us get away on vacation, running boats, off-road vehicles, and motorcycles.
But gasoline can be dangerous if not handled or stored properly. Gasoline should only be used for its intended purpose - as a motor fuel - and stored only when absolutely necessary. It should not be used as a solvent, cleaner, barbecue starter or for any other non-engine use.
Take the following precautions:
- Your local and state governments are the first places you should check for standards and regulations on gasoline storage. For example, fire codes and regulations restrict the amount of gasoline an individual homeowner can store (usually no more than 25 gallons), in approved containers of less than five gallons capacity each.
- Gasoline must be stored in an approved container or tank. Keep gasoline containers tightly closed and handle them gently to avoid spills.
- Gasoline is a flammable liquid and should be stored at room temperature, away from potential heat sources such as the sun, a hot water heater, space heater or a furnace, and a least 50 feet away from ignition sources, such as pilot lights. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can travel along the floor to ignition sources. Do not smoke where gasoline is handled or stored.
- Put gasoline in a small engine (like a lawnmower) only when the engine and attachments are cool.
- Store gasoline in a building separate from the house or place of occupancy, such as a shed or garage. Always keep gasoline out of reach from children.
- For better ventilation, it is best to handle gasoline outdoors.
- Do not mix even a small amount of gasoline with kerosene or diesel. Do not use gasoline in kerosene heaters or lamps.
- Minor spills should be absorbed with sawdust, paper or rags. Larger spills may be contained and collected. Check with your local government or hazardous waste disposal center to determine the proper avenues for disposing of spilled gasoline. Place recovered gasoline and cleanup materials in approved, labeled containers for proper disposal. Never dispose of spilled gasoline or cleaning materials on the ground or into your garbage, drains, toilets or sewers. If you do, it might cause a fire, or seep into streams, bays, lakes or your groundwater.