Date Added: July 9, 2002
Recent chain letters would have you believe that filling your tank is the most dangerous thing you could possibly do. While this chain letter has some basis in truth, it's riddled with exaggerations, misinterpretations and flat-out lies.
Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of "static" at gas pumps.
His company has researched 150 cases of these fires. His results were very surprising:
1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas, when finished and they went back to pull the nozzle out the fire started, as a result of static.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was reentered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
8) Seventeen fires that occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.
Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas.
If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.
As I mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger. You can find out more information by going to http://www.pei.org. Once here, click in the center of the screen where it says "Stop Static".
I ask you to please send this information to ALL your family and friends, especially those who have kids in the car with them while pumping gas. If this were to happen to them, they may not be able to get the children out in time.
Thanks for passing this along
This one appears similar to earlier gas station-based warnings about cellular phones, HIV-tainted needles and bizarre gang initiation rituals. It advises that you may routinely put yourself in a hazardous situation few people know about - one you can avoid if you are alert.
Newer versions of this chain omit Renkes' name and feature an unrelated picture of a partially burnt minivan, presumably to drive (no pun intended) the point home:
The photo did not originate with this message (the text circulated for at least 6 months before the picture was added), and did not come from the Petroleum Equipment Industry. In fact, we have yet to determine it's origin. Its relationship to the e-mail is not explained, but we're left to presume it is an example of the dangers described therein.
The PEI is a coalition of "manufacturers, sellers and installers of equipment used in service stations, terminals, bulk plants, fuel oil and gasoline delivery." They began a study in January 2000 on the risks of fire from static at gas pumps and developed their Stop Static campaign based on their findings.
However, the e-mailed summary of the PEI report is anonymously authored and contains several critical mistakes:
Yes, static electricity can cause fires at the pump, but it is rare, and this letter contains more than enough misinformation to make it useless as a warning. For information you can trust and advice you can use, rely on the PEI's Stop Static page. Break this Chain.