THE PHONY EMAIL:
We have become so comfortable around gas stations that we forget just how deadly gasoline can be and how easy it is to ignite....Shell Oil Safety Alert!
Four Rules for Safe Refueling:
- Don't smoke
- Turn off the engine
- Don't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off (the false part of the email.)
- Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling.
Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of 'static electricity' at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires. His results were very surprising:
- Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women. (Not in the original warning)
- Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static. (This may be true.)
- Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
- Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. (The PEI did not say this.) This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires....
This is the reply published by PEI in response to the email scam. You can read the original report from Bob Renkes. Notice there is NO mention of women being the problem. This is a copy of the whole PEI page along with references replying to the scam...no attempt to mislead here:
Three Rules for Safe Refueling
1. Turn off engine.2. Don't smoke.
3. Never re-enter your vehicle while refueling.
Are Cell Phones Responsible?No. We have not documented a single incident that was caused by a cellular telephone. Cell phones continue to be cited as causing fires at the pump in e-mails circulating on the Internet. So far, we have been unable to document any incidents that were sparked by a cellular telephone. In fact, many researchers have tried to ignite fuel vapors with a cell phone and failed.
PEI still advises against using any electronic device that might distract the motorist during the refueling process.
More Information: The following links offer more information on static electrical discharge— the fact and the fiction.
Snopes.com: Analysis of infamous warning e-mails circulating
Mythbusters: Season One of The Discovery Channel television series includes an episode on the cell phone myth and features our own Robert Renkes
University of Oklahoma: Report on wireless phones at gas stations
ESD Journal: More static-related incidents and safety tips
About.com: Detailing the truth of the urban legend
PEI Forum: Safe refueling questions and answers
Static electricity yes, cell phones NO! And silly women...not at all!
As for girls being girls...I will have to admit that in Oregon where I live 6 month a year we do NOT pump our own gas. I have had to have someone help me here in Arizona more than once...the gas pump mystery confounds me. Even when I am confounded I will not be getting back inside my car while I am pumping the gas and I would urge all men to follow my lead. I don't like gas pump fires!
Have a wonderful day and laugh at the idiots that fool us all...really, I guess they just can't help it.