Gas can demand exceeds supply in wake of Sandy

Nov 01, 2012, 15:26 ET from PFCMA

TULSA, Okla., Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As cleanup efforts get underway across the Northeast, one consumer item that plays an important role in recovery is in short supply. Hurricane Sandy has exhausted inventories of portable gas cans, and manufacturers are unable to keep up with demand for the familiar red cans that are a standard part of most storm recovery kits.

American manufacturing capacity dropped by about 70 percent with the July 31 closing of the nation's largest producer of consumer fuel cans. The company closed under the weight of litigation in cases primarily characterized by product misuse. The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association has been concerned about their members' ability to meet increased demand in the event of a storm, and a survey of member supply shows those concerns were justified.

"Our members are moving all available inventory out to customers, and most are going into back order," said Amanda Emerson, PFCMA spokesperson. "They are running full out to try and meet demand, but estimates for back-ordered product delivery are ranging from two to five weeks."

Particularly for winter storms, gasoline is critical for back-up power to provide heating for homes and buildings in large population centers. If gas cans aren't available, disaster victims need to understand that they put themselves and everyone around them at great risk if they use makeshift containers to transport and store fuel. PFCMA is urging storm victims protect themselves and their neighbors by following safety guidelines for proper storage and handling of fuel.

Gas Can Safety Tips

No gas can or other device can guard against the hazards of misuse. The following are critical measures for safe handling of fuel:

  • Use a proper container.
    • Never use old soda bottles or other makeshift containers to store gas; someone might think it's a beverage and drink it. And even a small cup of gasoline can emit vapors and may ignite.
  • Do NOT fill a gas container on any surface other than the ground.
  • Keep gas out of reach of children.
  • Store gasoline in a well-ventilated area outside your vehicle and living space.
  • Keep gas away from any source of heat, spark or flame.
  • Read the warning label on your gas can.

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