Gas Can Requirements

We hear a lot of complaints about the new gas can requirements.

In fact, one woman even took the time late one Sunday evening to leave a 30 minute rant on our answering machine about how badly we designed the gas cans she purchased from us. She went into great detail using a string of curse words put in an order we’ve never heard before about how when she uses her new spill proof gas can we designed she spills more fuel than she actually gets in her equipment. I’m pretty sure this woman had Tourettes and while leaving the message I think she might have actually blacked out a couple of times.

She didn’t leave a name or phone number just a rant.

If you’re the person who left that message and you’re reading this post, you need to seek professional psychological help. The amount of rage you expressed in your message over something as simple as a gas can is a sign of a deeper underlying mental issue.


Let me be crystal clear.  We DO NOT design and manufacturer gas cans.


We DO sell gas cans. Actually, we sell a lot of gas cans. We sell metal gas cans and plastic gas cans.  But we DO NOT design and manufacturer the gas cans we sell.


Almost all modern gas cans that are currently on the market are designed to meet OSHA, DOT and CARB requirements. These are the people who dictate what safety features will be in your gas can.

What is an OSHA approved gas can?

One that complies with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.152(a)(1) which 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, except that this shall not apply to those flammable liquid materials which are highly viscid (extremely hard to pour), which may be used and handled in original shipping containers. For quantities of one gallon or less, the original container may be used, for storage, use and handling of flammable liquids.”


What is a DOT approved 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).


What is a CARB approved gas can?

§ 2467.2. Performance Standards and Test Procedures for Portable Fuel Containers and Spill-Proof Spouts

(a) Except as provided in Section 2467.3, during the time period beginning 30 days after the date of filing of this subsection with the Secretary of State, and ending June 30, 2007, no person shall sell, supply, offer for sale, or manufacture for sale in California any portable fuel container or any portable fuel container and spout which, at the time of sale or manufacture, does not meet all of the following Performance Standards for Spill-Proof Systems:

(1) An automatic shut-off stops the fuel flow before the target fuel tank overflows.

(2) Automatically closes and seals when removed from the target fuel tank and remains completely closed when not dispensing fuel.

(3) Has only one opening for both filling and pouring.

(4) Does not exceed a permeation rate of 0.4 grams per gallon per day.

(5) Warranted for a period of not less than one year against defects in materials and workmanship.


If you’re only allowed to have one opening for filling and pouring that means you can’t have a vent. When you’re pouring fuel out air is trying to get back up the same nozzle fuel is trying to come out which doesn’t work very well.

Most new gas cans require you to push a button to get fuel out.  Trying to push a button while holding up 5 gallons of fuel isn’t always the easiest thing.


In researching this article we came across a ton of articles ranting about the new safety cans and offering directions on how to circumvent the safety features of the modern gas cans.

We do NOT condone bypassing any safety features of your equipment. If you just can’t live with the new safety features pick up an old gas can on eBay or at a garage sale.  Do not modify or bypass the safety features of your gas can.


Do you have questions or comments about Gas Can regulations and requirements?  Please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us via phone or email.


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Gas can requirements
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Gas can requirements
Learn the details about CARB, EPA and OSHA legal fuel can requirements. What you don't know might surprise you.
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Jack Hayes

Jack Hayes is the Head of Internet Marketing at LawnMowerPros and the editor of this blog. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, custom graphics and much more.