The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA) warns motorists to place portable gasoline containers on the ground while filling them.

'Take the portable gas container out of your vehicle and set it on the ground while filling it with gas.  Static electricity could cause fire to erupt while fueling when it is in your car or pickup bed," NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez, M.D., said.

Dr. Martinez told truck owners who had bedliners (a plastic, protective fining) to be especially careful because the bedliners act as an insulator, allowing static electricity to build up on the gasoline container while it is being filled.  During fueling, the flow of the gasoline through the pump nozzle can produce static electricity and this can create a spark between the container and nozzle, igniting gasoline vapors and causing a fire or explosion.

According to the NHTSA, there have been 24 fires and 5 injuries associated with static electricity discharge from portable fuel containers.

NHTSA Recommends The Following Safe Procedures For Filling Portable Gasoline Containers:

Never use a glass or plastic container.  Only use gas cans intended for this purpose.  If you use another type of plastic or metal container, make sure you explicitly label it, "GASOLINE."