The tale of a gasoline can and the federal bureaucracy that made it useless

May 8, 2018

Anyone who has dealt with a gasoline can made after 2007 knows that every one sold in the marketplace doesn't work thanks to federal regulations.

 

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to regulate what it calls "portable fuel containers" to prevent spillage and leakage of gasoline vapors into the atmosphere. Like all government regulation, good intentions of environmental protection and safety meant no harm could be done by the regulators, most of whom I'm convinced have never used a gas can.

 

Federal regulators from the Obama administration largely adopted the regulations from the California Air Resources Board, which brought you zero-emission mandates that are forcing automakers to build and sell glorified golf carts masquerading as cars that no one in a rural state would dare buy.

 

When I bought a house a few years ago and a new lawn mower with it, I also bought a new design gas can. I had no idea of what fresh hell I was unleashing. In the bureaucratic redesign, they've removed the vent on the can. That's bad, but to get the nozzle open, you have to possess three hands. 

 

You need one to hold the tab that keeps the nozzle unblocked, another to hold the nozzle over the lawn mower's fuel receptacle and another to keep the can steady while the gasoline sloshes around. The gasoline came out in unpredictable trickles and floods, leaving a mess on my driveway, mower and hands.

 

In the old days, you could just tilt and pour, but the requirement to keep the nozzle closed when not in use has made that a convenience of the past. Holding the nozzle open leaves a painful red indentation on the thumb.

 

I miss the old days when when I could pour gasoline with a minimum of mess into my lawn mower or outboard without any government-mandated stupidity getting in the way.

 

So to get around the idiocy, I take off the now-useless nozzle and pour the gasoline into my mower with the help of a funnel. 

 

There are new spouts sold online that actually work as the marketplace is already responding to the deformation by government regulations. Those sold in states that go along with California-style regulations have to be sold as "water" nozzles. Now that'd be funny if it wasn't a sad testament to the soul-sucking stupidity of bureaucratic meddling.

 

There are also old-school cans still sold on eBay for $50 or more. There's a business opportunity missed by many before the new regulations went into effect.

 

Now that President Donald Trump is making great progress in his deregulation push, let's hope that his EPA will address this unnecessary regulation. Let's make gasoline cans great again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MississippiMatters is a news blog of cooperative writers, videographers and podcasters published by  The Well Writers Guild, a 501c3 devoted to mentoring Mississippi writers and to addressing uncovered or under-covered topics.  MississippiMatters focuses on offering creative "takes" on our state's culture, ideas, events and more.