Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Just A Gas Can...

I went out last week to buy a gas can. I wanted a 5 gallon plastic can like the one I bought 10 years ago.  What I found has driven me to blog. Not only was the price incredibly crazy, the nozzle looked like it was designed to fuel the space shuttle. I flipped all the levers and pulled at the trigger.  I actually read the directions and it still didn't make any sense.  I finally gave up and left.  When I got home I looked up the manufacturer for the can, that I had, and discovered the company was bankrupt.  Several websites implied that multiple lawsuits forced the company out of business. The newspaper, The Southeast Texas Record, tells of one such lawsuit:

According to the plaintiffs' complaint, the incident occurred on Dec. 18, 2009, as Brooke Crouch was sitting around a camp fire with high school friends. One of the boys attempted to rekindle the camp fire using a Blitz gas can.
Allegedly, the gasoline vapors were ignited outside of the can and flashed back inside it and exploded. Brooke was sitting across from the fire and the gasoline shot onto her hands and legs and under her cheerleading skirt causing severe third degree burns, according to the suit. She was taken to a burn unit, required surgical procedures, skin grafting and extensive physical therapy. 
The gas can manufacturer, Blitz U.S.A., is being sued for strict liability and negligence.The plaintiffs argue that there are safer alternative designs that could eliminate the risk of the gas can exploding, including the use of a flame arestor device or the use of a gas can closure that would prevent flammable gas fumes and liquid from escaping the can. 
Blitz is also accused of failing to produce a reasonably safe can, selling a gas can that was defective, failed to contained adequate warnings and instructions, unfit for its intended and anticipated use, failed to properly test its can, failed to take remedial measures such as post-sale warnings or recall the can, failing to report incidences and lawsuits involving other consumers and for spoiling evidence.

You can't fix stupid....but, the courts try every day.  Warning: this cup of coffee contains a hot liquid that might burn you, duh! If you pour gasoline onto a fire, you might get burned, hello? 

Another thing that supposedly makes new gas cans so complex is environmental laws. Gasoline is considered a volatile organic compound (VOC). VOCs are supposedly greenhouse gases. I found the following online:

The EPA regulations are based on requirements started in Califormia by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2000 and updated in 2007. Since 2000, individual states have been slowly following suit, but the new EPA regulations will bring all states in line and by January 1, 2009 all new PFCs produced and sold in the United States will be compliant.
    The regulations impose:
  • A single, self venting opening for filling and pouring with no separate vents or openings
  • A treated can body for minimal permeation of fuels
  • Automatic closure, meaning a nozzle which automatically springs to the closed position when not pouring
  • Childproof features as designated by the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act
So what does this tell us?  My old gas can is apparently destroying the baby polar bear's home, really?

This makes me long for simpler times.  It is, after all, a can that holds gas.  Why does everything have to be so complicated?

Today the complexities and roadblocks are created by an over reaching and over bearing government that regulates away our liberties, while spending our grandchildren's futures. 

This is America.  I want companies to be able to make money in this country.  Occasionally, bad things will happen to good people.  They are called accidents; they are not opportunities to get rich and put hard working people out of business.  For now, I will have to buy a "vintage" gas can off ebay where there is a remarkable selection of pre-2009 cans.  I want my gas can and my country back.
I'm Beef...and these are my for tort reform and a complete overhaul of the EPA.  Also, take care of your gas can, it's more valuable than you think. :)

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