NotTaR of small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers : Where to fill gas can                   
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Where to fill gas can

Always remove the gas can from vehicle before filling it. In addition to common sense 'what ifs' with respect to spills and fume buildup, there may be an added risk of the buildup of static electricity:

Also see the section: Explosion risk when filling a metal gas can.

(From: Joyce (joduren@ix.netcom.com)

Please be careful about filling the gas can. I saw something on one of those PBS How to do it shows (or was it in the newspaper?) that said that people are filling their plastic gas cans with them still in their trunks or hatchbacks. They said this is dangerous because the can isn't grounded or something and a static electricity spark could make the thing to explode.