Despite the fact that at the beginning of 2020 it was allowed to refuel gasoline in plastic containers, the topic does not lose its relevance. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, it is not allowed to pour into any plastic. Secondly, many still do not know for sure what is the danger of a set consisting of plastic containers and gasoline flowing from a pistol. Thirdly, many myths and real problems have accumulated around this topic that require a clear explanation.
Laws prohibiting refilling in plastic containers
Let's forget for a moment that we are already beyond 2020. Especially since little has changed. Looking back, nothing has changed at all. So. Where is it written that gasoline cannot be poured into plastic containers? The first document is GOST R 58404-2019 “Gas stations and complexes. Rules for technical operation. Clause 8.2.5 says in black and white that the release of petroleum products is not allowed in containers made of polymeric materials if it does not have the appropriate marking.
We will return to labeling. In the meantime, let's not forget to mention a document called RD 153-39.2-080-01 "Rules for the technical operation of gas stations." It contains clause 14.3, which states that the issuance of petroleum products in plastic containers is prohibited. At the same time, if anyone is too lazy to personally look for and read these documents, they also say about the prohibition of pouring gasoline into glass containers.
As a matter of fact, this is where the list of laws in which I would like to find the answer to the question - why it is impossible to fill gasoline in a plastic canister - ends. It is clear that there are no explanations for this in them. They shouldn't be there. After all, there are no explanations in the Rules of the Road why you can’t cross a double continuous line and drive on a red one.
Any prohibitions that are introduced into certain rules are not taken from the ceiling. The military, for example, is more likely than others to say that their charter is written in blood. As a matter of fact, most of the points of our favorite traffic rules are also written by her. It works extremely simply. An incident happened - they found out because of what - it was forbidden in the rules to do so.
So many rules and laws are written. This also applies to gasoline and plastic containers. Yes, fires because of this happen much less often than because of driving through a red light. Moreover, a clear example showing the ignition of gasoline poured into a plastic canister or bottle cannot be found on the omniscient Internet. First, because it rarely happens. Secondly, it is necessary that many circumstances come together that would accidentally fall into the lens of a smartphone camera.
However, there were precedents. Even if not in the form in which it is described by operators at gas stations. But there were. Otherwise, there would be no prohibition in nature. Yes, there is a naked theory. Yes, many things are also banned at its base even before a disaster happens. But in the case of gasoline and plastic containers, this is not a theory. Later you will understand why.
An example of a court case for the release of gasoline in plastic containers
If there is a law, then there were crimes. A good example of this is Sentence No. 1-460/2015 issued by the Angarsk City Court. If anything, this is the Irkutsk region. The case is a criminal one. And it is directly related to whether gasoline can be poured into a plastic canister. For those who are interested, this verdict is easy to find on the Internet. So enter in the search line: "verdict No. 1-460/2015 Angarsk."
For the sake of those who are too lazy to search and read a document that is far from one page, we will briefly consider its essence here. It was at a gas station. The operator released gasoline into plastic containers, for which, in fact, a criminal case was opened against him. The person was accused of providing services that did not meet the requirements for the safety of life and health of consumers. His guilt was proved by the investigation. The maximum punishment for this, it turns out, is 10 years in prison.
Fortunately, the court found no aggravating circumstances, and the gas station operator got off with a fine of 7,000 rubles. The absence of aggravating circumstances means that nothing caught fire as a result of a violation of the rules, and did not cause any harm to anyone. This is clearly stated in the judgment. That is, as well as on the road - violated, pay a fine, although nothing terrible happened.
In addition to being directly related to the topic of this article, the considered court verdict is interesting in that it briefly describes the essence of the problem. Namely, what is the danger of a plastic canister into which gasoline is poured. We'll talk about this, actually. Since this is the most interesting and, the only adequate explanation for why it is impossible to fill gasoline in a plastic canister.
Yes Yes. Only static electricity, and nothing else, is the very basis on which the above rules are based. Let's try to figure out how it works. To begin with, let's return to the verdict of the Angarsk City Court. In this document, the essence of the violation is described as follows.
Gross violation of security requirements in the provision of services. Namely, when filling gasoline (issuing fuel - pouring it with a falling jet) into a plastic (polyethylene) canister (container), it could lead to the accumulation of static electricity on the walls of the canister and a jet of oil product (gasoline), which could cause a discharge of static electricity and ignition of gasoline vapors, and could lead to a fire with all the ensuing consequences.
Here you can see that nothing happened. But on the other hand, it is casually said what could happen, and why. Although not entirely clear. To make it clearer, let's turn to physics. Then we will return to our canister and a stream of gasoline.
What is static electricity? In simple terms, this is the charge that accumulates on the surface of materials. At the same time, in order for it to accumulate, several conditions must be met. First, if it is friction, then it must be between two different materials. Secondly, for a discharge of static electricity to occur, there must be two charges with different signs. That is, positive and negative charges. Thirdly, at least one of the materials must be a dielectric, that is, not conduct current.
In the case of plastic containers and gasoline, static works as follows. Some polyethylenes are capable of accumulating a negative static charge. For example, if it is a canister, then it can accumulate it in the trunk of a car. Gasoline, which flows at high speed through pipes and hoses at gas stations, rubs against them, and can accumulate a positive charge. Accordingly, if a negative charge appears on the canister, and a positive charge appears on gasoline, a spark is obtained upon contact.
That's the theory. But what about in practice? First, in order to accumulate negative static on a plastic canister, it must be rubbed hard and deliberately against another material. Moreover, not every material is suitable. If there is carpet in the trunk of your car, then it fits. If they carefully, quickly and for a long time rub the plastic, then it may accumulate the same negative charge. If the container is securely fixed, no static will smell there. Actually, because of this, cases of ignition of gasoline during refueling in plastic containers are so rare.
But the canister is only "half the battle." Recall that for a discharge with sparking to occur, a negative charge on the plastic is not enough. Yes, and interested people tried to accumulate it - they did not succeed in anything demonstrative. It also needs a positive charge. It is “carried” by gasoline flowing at high speed through pipes and hoses.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, one interesting circumstance could not be clarified. Perhaps it will catch the eye later, or one of the readers will tell you. The point is this. It is thoroughly known that friction of two dissimilar materials is necessary for the accumulation of statics. It is important that not anyhow.
Therefore, a completely fair question arises - why are pipes and hoses at gas stations not made of materials that would not accumulate a positive charge from friction on gasoline? This is despite the fact that plastic canisters for fuel have been made for a long time, and even the tanks on some modern cars are also made of plastic. It is clear that no static accumulates on them, otherwise the cars would explode at gas stations every day.
Let's take a look at static electricity. The first is that in order to get a spark and set fire to gasoline, you need positive and negative charges. Recharging plastic is a difficult task. And designed for fuel and even more so. However, there is a risk. Therefore, there is a ban that was allegedly canceled in 2020. We will return to this later. It turns out that they did not cancel anything in fact.
As additional information, consider a couple of points. Now it should be clear why it is impossible to fill gasoline in plastic containers. It should also be clear that the fuel can be poured first into a metal container, and then poured into plastic. For those who don't understand, let me explain in a few words.
When gasoline enters a metal container from a pistol (a bucket, for example), a positive static charge, if any, goes into the Earth. And from a bucket into a plastic canister, fuel is poured relatively slowly and does not rub against anything. At many gas stations, if the client wants to refuel in plastic containers, they offer such a bucket and funnel. Is it legal, who the hell knows. But in fact, there is no security breach.
By the way, about funnels. Facts are slipping on the Internet when gasoline ignited during the pouring of gasoline using plastic funnels. There is, of course, no clear evidence. But in theory, it's possible. Negative charge can accumulate on the funnel. And gasoline can be positively charged even from the gas station itself. Of course, for an explosion to happen, you still need to “try”. Nevertheless, conclusions must be drawn in advance, and do not use plastic funnels for pouring gasoline.
This article could have ended, since it is precisely because of static electricity that gasoline cannot be filled into a plastic canister. However, the topic is not fully disclosed, and the author has a couple more thoughts in store about fuel and plastic containers. In particular, this concerns the underfilling and quality of gasoline at gas stations, its expansion and the ability to corrode certain types of polymers. There is also personal experience, which, for sure, will be useful to many. Therefore, let's continue.
Even though static is the only reason to ban filling gasoline in plastic containers, its tendency to expand is also a serious problem. Of course, operators at gas stations may not release fuel to you for other reasons. However, gasoline filled with plastic still needs to be taken to the garage and stored there.
Gasoline expands very well. And even more dangerous are his vapors. Surely many people know how a plastic canister or a bottle of gasoline sometimes swells up. This happens precisely because the fuel itself expands from an increase in temperature. But this is not critical. Gasoline vapors accumulating in containers lead to an increase in pressure, which can already threaten trouble.
To avoid them, do not store gasoline in unsuitable containers. If, nevertheless, you really want to (well, there is no “correct” canister), then it is worth taking some security measures. First, do not pour more than three-quarters of gasoline into a plastic container. Second, if it's a regular beer or water bottle, squeeze all the air out of the bottle before screwing on the cap. So the vapor will accumulate somewhere, and the container will not inflate.
In fact, for a plastic bottle to explode from the pressure of gasoline vapor, some kind of miracle must happen. A container of this type is capable of withstanding very high pressure and, if you do not try to destroy it intentionally, nothing can explode in the garage.
Also, to avoid problems, leave the container with gasoline for storage in a shady place. It should also be taken into account that plastic is quite easy to puncture. Especially if the bottle or canister is under pressure. Therefore, it's all not worth dropping and hitting hard surfaces. A fire with an explosion may not happen. But gasoline is expensive, and then it will stink for a long time.
Underfilling and quality of fuel at filling stations
On the basis of all this “hype” around plastic containers and gasoline, there are also opinions that this is all a conspiracy. Let's respect such skeptics. Moreover, their skepticism sometimes turns out to be quite justified. The bottom line is this. Allegedly, a ban on the release of gasoline in plastic containers was introduced so that the user could not determine the amount of fuel filled and its quality.
Of course, few will argue with the fact that in our country there are gas stations that are severely underfilled in terms of volume, and even the quality of fuel leaves much to be desired. It is a fact. But, firstly, there are very few such gas stations. And secondly, the ban, nevertheless, was not introduced for this reason. It is foolish to think that someone in the government is confused to promote such laws just for the sake of selling low-quality fuel to the population. Well, underfilling is generally a sin for personally specific gas stations.
In addition, it was always possible to fill in metal canisters. No one forbade bringing the contents home, measuring the volume, evaluating the quality, and then drawing the appropriate conclusions about the gas station. If the purpose of the bans was this, then they would be forbidden to refuel in any container at all. Only in the tank. So there is no conspiracy. This is overkill.
Gasoline resistant plastic
There is one famous drink that is sold in plastic bottles. Nothing unusual. But these bottles are made of special plastic. Roughly speaking, environmentally friendly. If so at all can be said about plastic. This can be found on the label. So. Those who tried to pour gasoline into bottles of this drink soon found that the container was leaking. Fuel simply corroded plastic.
Fortunately for those who like to store gasoline for mowers and saws in plastic bottles, there are very few such environmentally friendly containers on the market. In addition, manufacturers brag about this in large letters on the label. It's impossible not to notice. As for the vast majority of plastic food packaging in our country, gasoline does not corrode it. At least within a reasonable amount of time. It is stored without problems all winter, and even for several years (when the leftovers are forgotten somewhere under a shelf or table).
Again about the law and labeling of plastic canisters for gasoline
At the very beginning of 2020, journalists were hard at work on the subject of the alleged lifting of the ban on refueling gasoline in plastic containers. The headlines were so full of it. But do not rush to go to the gas station with bottles of beer or soda. The aforementioned cancellation is nothing more than a repetition of the rules discussed at the beginning of this article. Namely, gasoline can be refueled in plastic containers, but only in one that has the appropriate marking.
And that's it. In "non-special" canisters - it is still impossible. Even more so in plastic bottles. So, by and large, nothing has been canceled anywhere. As well as no one canceled physics and static electricity. The risk of fuel ignition has not disappeared anywhere. They simply began to produce containers made of such plastic, which, even with the strong desire of the user, will not be able to accumulate that same negative static charge.
Fuel tanks on some cars and motorcycles, in fact, are also made from such a material. And they came up with it, by no means, in 2020. Simply, most likely, sales of such canisters and equipment were hampered by the ban on refueling gasoline in plastic containers. So he promoted, who needed it, this alleged lifting of the ban. Although it is not a cancellation. They just clarified and emphasized that it is possible, but only in special plastic.
Oh yes. On the marking of plastic canisters for gasoline. There were some interesting things here as well. If something like “for fuel” or “ gasoline ” (gasoline in English) is written on the container, then this does not always mean that it is made of the same antistatic plastic. On the fence, as they say, sometimes they also write something. But what with the inscription, what without, the fence continues to be just a fence.
A real "correct" plastic canister for gasoline should have a special marking. In particular, there must be a round sign, a certificate number and other information encrypted in the code. So, the inscription "for gasoline" will not work. In addition, the "correct" canister can be determined by other signs. First, it must be with smooth walls. Secondly, you can’t just take it and crush it with your hands.
Additionally, you can determine a canister suitable for gasoline by its empty weight. A container with a volume of 5 liters can weigh more than 600 grams, but not 200-300 grams. Although for successful refueling at a gas station, it is usually enough to show the aforementioned badge with a certificate number. Naturally, there are novice tankers who find it difficult to prove the "legality" of certified containers. But that's not the point.
What do we have as a result. Is it possible, after all, to pour gasoline into a plastic canister? Can. If at home, then at least pour it into a homemade paper cup. This is purely your business. As for refueling from a pistol at gas stations, physics and the ban on plastic containers continue to operate here. But with the exception of the one that is made of antistatic plastic, which must be confirmed by the appropriate certificate.