When buying gasoline for your landscape power tools, always add a gasoline stabilizer such as Stabil to keep the gas fresh over time, especially if some of it will be stored over the winter. Gas will stay fresh for only about 30 days.
The real problem is the impact of that spilled gasoline on the environment. Obviously spilled gasoline can seep down into the soil and may eventually pollute the water table. That is bad enough, however the really serious problem caused by spilled gasoline is the air pollution that is created as the gasoline evaporates. In 2001 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determined that the gas fumes from spilled gas, fumes from gas cans with vents left open, and even fumes from just putting gas into a lawn mower created about 87 tons of smog producing pollution per day, equal to the daily fumes from a million automobiles. That’s just one day.
The culprit is that gas can. Whether you use the spout or a funnel, there is no easy way to determine when the level of gas in the tank is reaching full.
It turns out that there are gasoline cans that have what are called “spill proof” nozzles. The nozzle automatically stops the flow of gas when the gas level in the tank makes contact with the end of the nozzle. In the past five years, California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware have established regulations requiring all new gas cans sold to consumers in those states to have the “spill proof” nozzles. They estimate that in ten years, as the older cans are replaced with these new designs, the spillage in those states will be reduced by a whooping 75%.
Armed with this new information I went shopping for a replacement for my old fashioned gas can. After visiting three stores selling gas cans I found that the new technology in gas can nozzles is not readily available. After calling the Clean Air Division of the Department of Environmental Quality in Lansing, I learned that this problem of air pollution from the evaporation of spilled gasoline by homeowners has never been brought to the attention of that organization. If those new spill proof cans are not required in Michigan, I guess the stores figure why stock an item that will cost $6 to $12 more than the traditional gas can.
Several years ago, Consumer Reports evaluated the gas cans that were advertised to be spill proof. The can with the best evaluation was made for Briggs and Stratton. Called the “Smart Fill” fuel can, the nozzle is unlocked before filling the tank and then is inserted into the tank in a vertical position. When the gas level in the tank reaches the end of the Smart Fill nozzle, it shuts off and you can remove the nozzle from the tank with no spills. Holding 2.5 gallons of gas, Smart Fill fuel cans can be bought at <a href="http://www.jackssmallengines.com">Jack's Small Engines Web Site</a> for $25. I have ordered two; one for regular gas and one for gas mixed with oil for my tools with two-cycle engines.