There are currently approximately 2350 retail gas stations, with approximately 45,000 retail motor fuel dispensers (gas pump meters) in Colorado.
Static electricity-related incidents at retail gas stations, fortunately, are not a common occurrence, but the potential for them to happen appears to be the highest during cool or cold and dry climate conditions.
A build-up of static electricity can be caused by re-entering a vehicle during fueling, particularly in cool or cold and dry weather. If the motorist then returns to the vehicle fill pipe during refueling, the static may discharge at the fill point, causing a flash fire or small sustained fire with gasoline refueling vapors.
After exiting your vehicle and before refueling, you should always first touch a metal part of the vehicle with a bare hand, such as the door, or some other metal surface, away from the fill point to discharge any build-up of static electricity. Most importantly, avoid getting back into your vehicle during refueling, staying outside the vehicle will greatly minimize the likelihood of any build-up of static electricity that could be discharged at the nozzle. In the unlikely event, a static-caused fire occurs when refueling, leave the nozzle in the fill pipe and back away from the vehicle. Notify the station attendant immediately.
Here are some safety guidelines.
- Turn off your vehicle engine. Put your vehicle in park and/or set the emergency brake. Disable or turn off any auxiliary sources of ignition such as a camper or trailer heater, cooking units, or pilot lights.
- Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while refueling at the pump or when using gasoline anywhere else.
- Use only the refueling latch provided on the gasoline dispenser nozzle. Never jam the refueling latch on the nozzle open.
- Do not re-enter your vehicle during refueling. If you cannot avoid re-entering your vehicle, discharge any static build-up BEFORE reaching for the nozzle by touching something metal with a bare hand, such as the vehicle door, away from the nozzle.