Clarification of Answer by
02 Sep 2002 16:30 PDT
I cannot find anything that refers directly to the hold-open clip on a
gasoline nozzle causing a fire itself. The issue is that the USE of
the clip allows the driver to return to his/her seat while waiting for
the tank to fill. The static builds up on the person and when he/she
returns to the nozzle and touches the metal, a static spark ignites
People turn the pump on using the hold open clip inside the handle.
Then they get back into their cars, rubbing against the seat. That
creates static electricity which is discharged when they get out and
touch the pump again ...That's why the little clips that used to let
you keep the pump in the on position hands free were removed on most
Canadian pumps. The big gas companies did that voluntarily once the
problem was discovered.
Static electricity may occur when a person filling their tank leaves
the nozzle, gets back in their vehicle and rubs against the seats.
When they return to the vehicle fill pipe when the refueling is
complete the built up static may discharge at the fill point, causing
a brief flash fire with gasoline refueling vapors....For added safety
when refueling a vehicle, one should: not smoke, light matches or
lighters while refueling; use only the refueling latch provided on the
gasoline dispenser nozzle - never jam the refueling latch on the
Unfortunately, the wording of the some of the warnings may be
ambiguous. This one almost makes it sound as though the clip itself
were the cause of the spark. But upon closer reading you can see they
are still referring to the danger of USING the clip in order to leave
the nozzle and return to your seat.
Even though people are the main problem, one contributor to the
problem is the hold-open clip on gas nozzles. Some local jurisdictions
dont allow hold-open clips on gas nozzles because of the potential
for static electricity sparks.
One would have to do a closer study of these fires to determine the
exact cause, however, had any been known to be attributable directly
to the clip causing a spark or fire by itself, The PEI would have
reported that fact
18 Fires Reported to PEI Where Refueler Did Not Reenter the Vehicle
and Touch the Nozzle During Refueling
So, my conclusion would be that the answer to your question is NO, the
actual clip on the gas nozzle has not, in itself, been the source of a
spark or static which has been attributed to fires or explosions at
Thanks for a great question and for allowing me to follow up with a
more complete answer.
Search terms used:
hold-open clip gas fire
hold-open clip gasoline fire
latch gasoline nozzle fire