Simple Solution to Dangerous Static Electricity Flash Fires at Gas Station Pumps

Published: Thu Nov 03 2005

CLAREMORE, Okla. – During the cold months of fall and winter there are more refueling flash fires caused by static electricity discharge at gas pumps and stations than at any other time of the year, but prevention is a very simple process.

CNN and many other news organizations have regularly reported the hundreds of dangerous gas pump fires that are sparked by static electricity discharge at gasoline stations each year, but many people are still not aware of the danger of a flash fire.

According to a report by CNN, a static electricity discharge caused the gas fumes to ignite in hundreds of fires. In many cases the car and the gas station are destroyed.

The Petroleum Equipment Institute has documented well over 100 fires caused by static discharge at gas pumps. Most experts suggest that gasoline stations should use warning stickers, and motorists should touch something safe to discharge electricity where it cannot cause a fire.

"Unfortunately most people forget the warnings and don’t see the stickers," said Steve Nunn, inventor of Static Shield. "The best solution is to create a simple method that becomes almost automatic as part of the refueling process."

Nunn offers a very simple device known as a Static Shield, which enables a motorist to automatically and safely discharge electricity when opening the gas door, and before opening the gas cap, as a normal process during refueling.

Static Shield discharges static before the gas cap is unscrewed eliminating the chance of a refueling fire caused by static electricity.

"It works because no one has to remember to do it, and you cannot gas up unless you open the door. No other method is this easy, inexpensive, or effective," said Nunn.

The Static Shield costs less than $20 and is easily installed on the gas cap door in just a few minutes.

Statistics show that 29 percent of the fires are started when the gas cap is unscrewed and static electricity from a person’s body ignites the gasoline fumes that are escaping out the fuel nozzle. The Petroleum Equipment Institute and the American Petroleum Institute have both issued warnings to motorists about the dangers of static electricity during refueling. Both advise motorists to discharge electricity in a way that will not cause a fire, and not to reenter the car. A static protection device enables that to happen.

The Static Shield makes that a simple process, and does not require drivers to even remember to use it. It works automatically as part of the normal procedure when refueling.

There are at least 150 known gas station fires in recent years that have been blamed on static discharge at the gas pump. Nunn believes that some of those fires could have been prevented.

"It is such a simple thing to prevent. There really is no reason there should ever be another one of these static flash fires again, but for that to happen consumers cannot re-enter their car once they touch Static Shield, that is the key to stopping these fires. Do not re enter your car," he said.

Nunn provides more information about Static Shield at his web site at

Steve Nunn

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