Regarding the ItzaGasCan
We are submitting this document to introduce the ItzaGasCan one-time use emergency gas can to State Fire Marshal’s around the country.
The ItzaGasCan one-time use emergency fuel carrier is designed for one purpose. It is designed for on-road refueling of stranded out of gas motorists. The ItzaGasCan is not for storage of fuel and is clearly marked as such. The ItzaGasCan is commonly sold at gas stations for stranded-out-of gas motorists. They purchase the ItzaGasCan, fill it, return to the station, discard the empty ItzaGasCan and refuel the car.
The ItzaGasCan is constructed with Bag-in-box technology. This technology is over 30 years old, developed by the Scholle Corporation for battery acid. Since the initial bag-in-box designs there have been incredible advances in film strength and chemical resistance. Bag-in-box is used now for many product such as wine, foods, oils, milk, soft drink syrups, paint, adhesives and countless others. The inner liner of the ItzaGasCan is an extremely durable design with polyethylene (the same plastic that standard gas cans are made of) on the inside and a high durability nylon outer structure that provides excellent strength and wear resistance.
The convenience stores like the ItzaGasCan. It is smaller and takes up less shelf space. The stores can carry more units in less space ensuring that they have product on the shelf for the stranded motorists. It is also being marketed as an emergency item as a stand alone and with emergency kits.
According to Bob Benedetti of the NFPA, NFPA 30 primarily regulates portable fuel containers. His unofficial position is that the ItzaGasCan is exempt or outside the scope/intent of NFPA 30. NFPA 30 is intended to regulate the storage of fuel. ASTM F852-99 (2006) is the primary standard for portable fuel containers. In the first paragraph, section 1.1, of the standard under Scope it states
This specification establishes nationally recognized performance requirements for portable gasoline containers intended for reuse by the consumer. This specification does not cover single-trip prepackaged containers.
Since the ItzaGasCan is not intended for reuse, it is clearly not within the scope of ASTM F852-99. However, Section 18.104.22.168 of NFPA 30 lists plastic containers that meet the U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 100-199 of the UN publication Recomendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods as acceptable containers. The ItzaGasCan is approved to Title 49 CFR, Part 178.600 as an acceptable container in accordance with NFPA 30 however we are not for the storage of fuel and therefore outside the scope of NFPA 30. We do believe that Title 49 CFR 178.600 is a legitimate nationally recognized standard used to create nationally recognized fire code and to define an acceptable container with which to dispense fuel into and for attended transport of fuel consistent with the markings and intended use of the ItzaGasCan.
NFPA-30A section 22.214.171.124 regulates the filling of containers at the gas station. This section requires AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) approval for containers that are not metal. This includes all plastic portable fuel containers.
The International Code Council’s International Fire Code section 2204-4-1 states that class I, II and III flammable liquids shall not be dispensed into a portable container unless such container is of an approved material and construction, and has a tight closure with screwed or spring loaded cover so designed that the contents can be dispensed without spilling.
The ItzaGasCan is of approved material and construction per the UN 49 CFR 178.600 test protocol and report attached here. The ItzaGasCan is approved for attended transport of fuel. The ItzaGasCan also has a tight closure. By virtue of the plastic deformation required to snap the nozzle into the fill neck and the subsequent spring back of the plastic to lock the nozzle to prevent removal and form a leak tight fit, the closure is clearly spring loaded and so designed that the contents can be dispensed without spilling.
The ItzaGasCan has many safety benefits over standard plastic or metal gas cans when used for emergency use.
1. The most common threat for portable gas cans (metal or hard plastic) is static discharge from filling in a vehicle or truck bed. The ItzaGasCan by virtue of its cardboard outer structure does not generate any measurable static potential when filled. (Testing for static potential was done internally but can easily be reproduced by rubbing standard plastic gas cans and an ItzaGasCan with a silk scarf and comparing the attractive strength of foam packing peanuts put on the vertical sidewalls of each container). We believe this is a significant advantage.
2. The ItzaGasCan has been tested and complies with UN standards for performance-oriented packaging in accordance with 49CFR. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has reviewed our testing and even inspected our test agency and found no issues with our product. This testing includes drop tests, stacking tests, vibration tests and a whole host of tests designed for the shipment of hazardous substances. We clearly have no intent for shipment of fuel in our container and strictly call out that this container is for the Attended Transport of fuel only. It has been approved for this use.
3. Perhaps there is concern that the ItzaGasCan will not be used properly. We have reviewed the designs for the top 5 commonly sold hard plastic gas cans. These are the models compliant with the new EPA air quality standards for gas cans. We found that several of these designs are very difficult to assemble with the non-intuitive requirement for gasket reconfiguration for instance. Studies by Consumer Reports also confirm our findings. These EPA compliant standard gas cans are also very difficult to operate with the spring-loaded nozzle being very difficult to depress. But perhaps the most glaring issue is that several of these products are NOT intended for on-road fueling of motor vehicles. 2 of the 5 actually state “not intended for on-road use” as part of their labeling yet these are the cans most commonly sold at convenience stores. In our opinion the other 3 should also be marked as such. It is estimated that 97% of all gas cans sold at convenience stores are sold to stranded out-of-gas motorists. In our testing we concluded that the nozzles on these cans are not long enough to open the flapper valve found in the fill neck of the car’s gas tank. This can cause spillage and environmental hazards. The ItzaGasCan has ample nozzle length and because it is a one-time use gas can by virtue of the locking nozzle design, it is by definition, exempt from the EPA portable fuel container ruling. The people who run out of gas are typically low on funds as well. The new EPA gas cans cost between $10 and $15. The ItzaGasCan is half that cost. It is more likely that a stranded motorist will not resort to using a non-approved container if there is a lower cost option. The standard EPA CARB compliant cans are fine for lawn mowers and such where repeated use allows the user to figure out the foibles of these designs. In an emergency situation simplicity is the key to safety.
4. Perhaps people will store fuel in this container even though it is clearly stated not to do so. I am sure there are people out there that store fuel in all sorts of unapproved containers such as milk jugs, soda bottles or a variety of other containers. The ItzaGasCan clearly states that it is NOT approved for storage of fuel. But what if someone did decide to store fuel in an ItzaGasCan? The bladder would not deteriorate causing a spill. We have performed longer-term storage of fuel in the ItzaGasCan in a controlled environment with no deterioration. We are currently working with ASTM to create a labeling specification for emergency non-reusable portable fuel containers.
5. Perhaps the disposal of the ItzaGasCan is of concern. The EPA states that this vessel is considered an empty container for household hazardous waste and as long as it is empty it can be discarded in the trash along with empty charcoal lighter containers, empty oilcans and empty paint thinner cans. We advise people that they should empty the can completely and to place the empty ItzaGasCan in a well-ventilated trash receptacle like the ones common at the pumps of most gas stations. It is least likely that fumes from the empty gas can would meet an ignition source next to a gas pump. That would certainly cause other safety issues far greater that the empty ItzaGasCan.
In fact, may we be so bold to suggest that the ItzaGasCan is a safer option than standard gas cans for stranded out-of-gas motorists.
1. With the advent of the pay-at-the-pump option common at most gas stations, many stations are leaving this option open even after they close the convenience store. Many stores close as early as 9PM but one can still fill up with a credit card. What if a person has walked a mile or so to find this situation? They will likely be searching through the dumpster for an empty water jug or even a soda cup. Our intent is to merchandise the ItzaGasCan as a necessary emergency kit item for just this type of situation. It is small and compact so it can fit in the trunk or under the seat.
2. There are many kiosk style gas stations that simply cannot sell gas cans after dark. They are not permitted to open the man door and the standard cans will not fit through the pass through drawer. Again they are forced to search for an un-approved potentially dangerous container. The ItzaGasCan can fit through most slide through drawers and save the day.
3. Because the ItzaGasCan is one-time use it is of no further use to the driver so they are likely to throw it away. A standard can may be perceived to still have value and be thrown in the trunk. The person who ran out of gas was on their way to work when the out of gas incident occurred. Once they are refueled they drive to work with the standard can in the trunk. After 8 or 9 hours in the hot sun the motorist returns to their car to find it filled with fumes. This causes dangers of asphyxiation as well as explosion. If the motorist would have just discarded the standard can they would have been fine. This may be the reason you see so many empty gas cans on the side of the road. People do not know if they are allowed to discard an empty gas can so they just leave it. The ItzaGasCan has instructions of how to dispose.
The ItzaGasCan has been in production since 2004 with well over 150,000 units sold. We also sell in Europe. The DOT, Consumer Product Safety Commission, several state air quality groups and the EPA have looked us at and have all either exempted us or approved us. We have also been used by FEMA. We are discussions with the US Marine Corps and the Navy for their use in the field. We maintain a $3 million product liability insurance policy. Hopefully this letter shows how this product serves a very important function and is proven a safe product for its intended purpose.
We ask that in the light of the extensive testing, thought and safety minded logic that has gone into the development of the ItzaGasCan and the demonstrated track record of zero recorded field reports of injury or misuse that Fire Marshal’s consider the ItzaGasCan as a safe and valuable product.
The ItzaGasCan is a 100% USA manufactured product that is being distributed across the US and also exported.
ASTM cover sheet for “Standard Specification for Portable Fuel Containers for Consumer Use”
Note in Description section 1.1: This specification establishes .. requirements ..for portable fuel containers intended for reuse by the consumer. This specification does not cover single trip prepackaged containers.
EPA definition sheet for EPA 40 CFR Part 59.680 for portable fuel containers. This regulates all gas cans effective Jan 1 2009 .
Note that the definition of a portable fuel container includes “reusable container” . The EPA considers us exempt because we are non-reusable.
Copy of an e-mail response from the EPA regarding disposal of the empty ItzaGasCan.
UN test report for the ItzaGasCan product.
Article on static discharge from filling fuel cans in truck bed-St. Joseph, MO
Copy of unofficial response from NFPA Bob Benedetti