Filling Station: Please Discharge all Static Before Entering



  • I actually used a station with auto shutoff for the first time this summer, as we had a day trip to Andorra.

    In the EU, fuel only flows as long as you're holding the whatchacallit.


  • SockDev

    <abbr title="Which of course you'll know already; this is more a PSA for the Merkins ;)They're all fitted with auto-shutoff switches too

    The raw is fun on this one…



  • Right, of course. It's just that the ones here also stop if once you release the lever, so you have to keep standing next to your car. The ones in Andorra kept running when you released the lever.


  • SockDev

    It's a better way; prevents the issue they have in the US, where someone could get back into the car while refuelling, which creates a static charge, then you get a spark and fwoof! Then they panic and pull the hose out (still pumping), and now they basically have a napalm pump in their hand.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    back into the car while refuelling, which creates a static charge, then you get a spark and fwoof

    Whaaaat? Is that a thing that actually can happen?


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    prevents the issue they have in the US, where someone could get back into the car while refuelling, which creates a static charge, then you get a spark and fwoof! Then they panic and pull the hose out (still pumping), and now they basically have a napalm pump in their hand.

    And that happens so frequently that I have never seen it in person. Ever. In fact, I've never even seen a video of it. The only fueling station mishap video I've seen in the US was an idiot filling portable containers in the bed of his pickup. The fumes pooled in the bed and he kicked a tool, which sparked against the metal bed.


    @abird said:

    Whaaaat? Is that a thing that actually can happen?

    In theory. In reality? Not too much of a risk that it will.


  • SockDev

    @abarker said:

    And that happens so frequently that I have never seen it in person. Ever. In fact, I've never even seen a video of it.

    It happens frequently enough (or used to anyway) that there have been Fire Service videos showing what not to do; they showed one on Mythbusters


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    It happens frequently enough (or used to anyway) that there have been Fire Service videos showing what not to do; they showed one on Mythbusters

    First of all, I have not seen any such videos, so they never made very broad distribution. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a California thing.

    Second, it's a very minimal problem. Americans refill their cars between 16 and 18 billion (short count) times anually[1]. The only stats I could find were from 2002: about 150 fueling fires, 29 of which were caused by the situation you described[2]. Not really an issue, I'd say. In fact, more like people who need to be weeded out.

    Third, I don't accept MythBusters as a valid source, primarily because they set themselves up as a scientific source and then don't even perform complete experiments or thoroughly follow the scientific method. Yes, it's entertaining. But it is not a valid source.


  • SockDev

    @abarker said:

    Third, I don't accept MythBusters as a valid source, primarily because they set themselves up as a scientific source and then don't even perform complete experiments or thoroughly follow the scientific method. Yes, it's entertaining. But it is not a valid source.

    I wasn't using them as a source, I simply said they played one of the PSAs; adherence to the scientific method is completely irrelevant.

    @abarker said:

    First of all, I have not seen any such videos, so they never made very broad distribution. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a California thing.

    Probably; it was a State of California PSA.



  • A static charge significant enough that it creates a spark inside the of the plastic petrol filler pipe?!



    Filed under: Haven't seen a Discotoaster in a while


  • SockDev

    Ah yes, because it's not at all possible for there to be fuel vapours leaking from the filler pipe, and there's no possibility of a spark coming from the metal pump handle.

    Oh, wait, it is:
    Mythbusters Cell Phone Destroys Gas Station (2/3) S01E02 – [01:47..14:56] 14:56
    — Goos Boos



  • @PleegWat said:

    In the EU, fuel only flows as long as you're holding the whatchacallit.

    At least in Germany, there's a tiny lever on the backside of the bow protecting the lever from being accidentally pulled. You can pull back a small latch (on either side of the bow) snapping it into a slot in the lever thereby fixing it. The autostop will release that latch too.



  • There's a reason for the no smoking rule on all petrol stations too.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    fuel vapours leaking from the filler pipe

    Fair enough but the vapours aren't strong for very long.
    It takes a decent amount of static electricity for a spark, more than you'd realistically generate from anything while filling the car up.

    I have no issue with pumps that keep running (without holding the lever in) until the car is full. When my work phone was a Nokia something-or-other, I used to wedge it into the handle to hold the lever open, and it'd pop out when the tank was full and the handle pushed back.
    Then I got a BlackBerry and it didn't fit in the handle any more :frowning:

    @PleegWat said:

    There's a reason for the no smoking rule on all petrol stations too.

    Anyone using a cigarette lighter on a petrol station forecourt deserves what happens IMO.


  • SockDev

    @loopback0 said:

    It takes a decent amount of static electricity for a spark, more than you'd realistically generate from anything while filling the car up.

    Of course. My apologies for thinking that the State of California Fire Department knows something about how fires start.


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    Of course. My apologies for thinking that the State of California Fire Department knows something about how fires start.

    The State of California Fire Department? No such thing. Fire departments exist at the city level. Occasionally at the county level in rural areas, but never the state level. It would be like talking about the English or Scottish Fire Department.

    Also, do you have any idea how alarmist California is? There are custom warnings on everything just to satisfy California laws. Saying California considers something dangerous is pretty meaningless to an American (at least those of us outside California).



  • @RaceProUK said:

    State of California

    Aren't they the dangerous paranoiacs of the US?


  • mod

    Yes. I almost think this qualifies @RaceProUK for a whoosh :badger:.


  • SockDev

    @abarker said:

    The State of California Fire Department? No such thing.

    Fine, San Francisco Fire Department.

    @abarker said:

    Also, do you have any idea how alarmist California is?

    So alarmist they break the laws of physics?


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    So alarmist they break the laws of physics?

    No, but alarmist enough that they take note of the tiniest little risks (like 29 static triggered fires in ~17e9 fill ups) and make them seem like the most dangerous thing in the world. That people like you then take these warnings from California as an indication that static triggered fueling fires are rampant in the US is an indication that:

    1. California is a state full of paranoid nanny state craving pansies.
    2. You are very gullible. Want to buy some real estate?

  • SockDev

    @abarker said:

    That people like you then take these warnings from California as an indication that static triggered fueling fires are rampant in the US

    I never said anything of the sort, and you know it


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    I never said anything of the sort, and you know it

    @RaceProUK said:

    prevents the issue they have in the US, where someone could get back into the car while refuelling, which creates a static charge, then you get a spark and fwoof! Then they panic and pull the hose out (still pumping), and now they basically have a napalm pump in their hand.

    Seems like an alarmist buy-in to me.


  • SockDev

    Please, tell me where in the subclause
    @RaceProUK said:

    prevents the issue they have in the US

    I stated the size, prevalence, or severity of the issue.

    I'll give you a hint: I didn't.


  • mod

    The fact that you targeted the US indicates that you believe it is a larger problem in the US than the UK. Or that the UK doesn't have any such fires. Thus, by comparison, you believe these fires to be rampant in the US.

    Either that or you have something against the US. You tend to pick the US as the "bad" example when you are trying to make the UK look good. I choose to think that you are gullible rather Ameri-phobic.


  • SockDev

    The design of the UK handpump means you have to hold the lever in place in order for fuel to flow; you never let go of the pump. Which, by the way, has an earthed bare metal handle; you discharge static long before the fuel flows.
    However, the US design has something the UK design doesn't: a latch. That means you can let go of the pump, and the fuel will continue to flow. You can then get back into the car and out again, building up a new static charge. You then discharge against the pump handle or near the filler, igniting the fumes that have come out from the breather holes.

    But hey, don't let organic chemistry, stoichiometry, and basic engineering get in the way of you calling me a racist.

    Oh, and the two countries I know most about, culturally and legally? The UK and the US.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    The design of the UK handpump means you have to hold the lever in place in order for fuel to flow; you never let go of the pump. Which, by the way, has an earthed bare metal handle; you discharge static long before the fuel flows.However, the US design has something the UK design doesn't: a latch. That means you can let go of the pump, and the fuel will continue to flow. You can then get back into the car and out again, building up a new static charge. You then discharge against the pump handle or near the filler, igniting the fumes that have come out from the breather holes.

    What if I half-filled the tank in a petrol car, then stopped, went into the car for something, then went back and grabbed the pump to fill the rest? Why does this magically stop the static electricity from lighting the petrol fumes?

    In the US I'd not even be touching the pump until the fuel stopped pumping.


  • mod

    Or what if someone in the UK wedged an object in the handle to act like the latch on US pumps? Once again, you could potentially have a result similar to what @RaceProUK is panicky over.



  • @abarker said:

    Or what if someone in the UK wedged an object in the handle to act like the latch on US pumps?

    I did wonder why I caught fire all of those times....



  • I think a more significant risk is people driving away while the fuel line is still connected.


  • SockDev

    @loopback0 said:

    What if I half-filled the tank in a petrol car, then stopped, went into the car for something, then went back and grabbed the pump to fill the rest? Why does this magically stop the static electricity from lighting the petrol fumes?

    It doesn't. But thanks to something called physics, there are less fumes to ignite.
    When the fuel is flowing, air is displaced from the tank, coming out the breather holes. Mixed with that air is fuel vapour. When the fuel isn't flowing, air is not being displaced, and it is not carrying fuel vapours out of the breather holes.
    In the UK, when you let go of the pump, the fuel flow stops, meaning no vapour is being pushed out. So when go into the car, get out, and grab the pump, what fuel vapour there was has most likely dissipated enough to make the mix too lean to ignite.
    In the US, the fuel continues to flow, pushing fuel vapour out of the breather holes. So when you return to the pump, there's still potentially enough fuel vapour around it to support ignition.

    Of course, this is all obvious to anyone who applies even the most rudimentary understanding of fluid dynamics, organic chemistry, stoichiometry, and basic engineering.

    @loopback0 said:

    In the US I'd not even be touching the pump until the fuel stopped pumping.

    So you basically accuse me of not taking into account all possibilities, then you make exactly that mistake.

    @abarker said:

    Or what if someone in the UK wedged an object in the handle to act like the latch on US pumps?

    If you do something stupid and get cooked as a result, it's your own fucking fault.

    @abarker said:

    Once again, you could potentially have a result similar to what @RaceProUK is panicky over.

    So not only am I a racist, I am also panicky over something I've never seen and almost certainly will never see happen in real life, and is completely avoidable with one extremely simple and very natural action.

    Now to sit back and wait for the inevitable flood of idiotic badges granted because both of you have nothing better to do tonight than try to piss me off.


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    So not only am I a racist, I am also panicky over something I've never seen and almost certainly will never see happen in real life, and is completely avoidable with one extremely simple and very natural action.

    So now the problem is completely avoidable with the removal of one convenient "keep open" latch. Sure, let's retrofit every pump in the US (and some other nations) to eliminate a ~0.00000017% risk that is avoidable by reading the warning labels on the pumps.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Of course, this is all obvious to anyone who applies even the most rudimentary understanding of fluid dynamics, organic chemistry, stoichiometry, and basic engineering.

    Like the Fire Department of California where they use (presumably) those pump handles?

    @RaceProUK said:

    So you basically accuse me of not taking into account all possibilities

    I did not. I simply suggested that the problem exists in both designs of pump handle.



  • @abarker said:

    by reading

    Filed under: EULA


  • SockDev

    @abarker said:

    So now the problem is completely avoidable with the removal of one convenient "keep open" latch.

    That would be a solution, yes.

    @abarker said:

    Sure, let's retrofit every pump in the US )and some other nations) to eliminate a ~0.00000017% risk that is avoidable by reading the warning labels on the pumps.

    Sure, take my observation and twist it to fit your narrative.

    @loopback0 said:

    I simply suggested that the problem exists in both designs of pump handle.

    And the US design raises the risk. Of course, now you're going to twist this to support an accusation of paranoia. An accusation you can shove up your arse.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Of course, now you're going to twist this to support an accusation of paranoia.

    Natch, what with all the accusations of paranoia I've come out with thus far.


  • SockDev

    I remember a time, many months ago, when I could come on here and have a conversation about something without having to write a scientific paper just to get my point across. But now, it seems I can only have a discussion if I write 1% actual content, 99% covering every insignificant loophole, simply so I don't have to face down a ridiculous interrogation filled with stupid questions that can easily be answered with a nanosecond's thought. Not that that works, as half of what I write is either ignored or twisted beyond recognition.

    And people wonder why I don't bother posting much anymore…



  • @RaceProUK said:

    I remember a time, many months ago, when I could come on here and have a conversation about something without having to write a scientific paper just to get my point across

    On here?



    Filed under: Paging someone to bump this stuff into another topic.
    @boomzilla @abarker @PJH @aliceif


  • SockDev

    Yes, on here. But then I was having those discussions with people that have brains, not idiots with nothing better to do than waste time pissing me off.


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    @abarker said:
    So now the problem is completely avoidable with the removal of one convenient "keep open" latch.

    That would be a solution, yes.

    Is this a solution that you think should be enacted? If so, then I would say you suffer from a case of overprotecivism, given the extremely low occurance of such incidences.


  • SockDev

    Because simply mentioning a solution means I have to throw 100% support behind it, obviously.

    I pointed out a small design flaw in a handpump design. That's all I've done. And I don't appreciate having to face a fucking inquisition because of it.


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    I pointed out a small design flaw in a handpump design.

    Is it really a design flaw? All that latch does is hold open the lever for you (which I'm sure people with arthritis really appreciate). It doesn't make you get in the car. If you choose to get in the car, it doesn't make you fail to discharge any static you may have picked up. If you get in your car while filling and fail to discharge your static, the latch doesn't make you grab the pump handle while the fuel is still flowing. There are several steps of human choices that need to be made before there can even be a spark.

    All this doesn't even take into account the growing prevalence of vapor recovery systems. Such systems collect fuel vapors before they can escape into the free atmosphere, so even should you trigger a spark while filling up, there wouldn't be anything to ignite.

    So, given that:

    1. Newer pumps have lower odds of static ignited fires.
    2. Igniting such a fire requires multiple human choices.
    3. The odds of such an incidence occurring are in the range of (1.7e-7)%.
    4. The trigger latch is a handy convenience for those with hand disabilities.

    I have two questions for you:

    1. Is this really a design flaw? I don't think there is any data to support such a position.
    2. Should we really design everything to protect against bad choices? That's what removing the trigger locks amounts to.

  • SockDev

    @abarker said:

    All that latch does is hold open the lever for you (which I'm sure people with arthritis really appreciate).

    And I'm sure they also appreciate the attendants at manned pumps too.

    @abarker said:

    Is this really a design flaw?

    Insofar as it increases an avoidable risk, yes.

    @abarker said:

    Should we really design everything to design against bad choices?

    Within reason, yes.

    Having said that, let me remind you of what I posted right at the start of this asinine 'discussion':
    @RaceProUK said:

    It happens frequently enough (or used to anyway)

    Right from the start I acknowledged it may not be a significant issue. But of course that doesn't matter here, because people like you are more interested in doing the verbal equivalent of shoving a spike through someone's head than having a conversation.


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    people like you are more interested in doing the verbal equivalent of shoving a spike through someone's head than having a conversation.

    Really? I thought this was a conversation. I was trying to explore the reasoning behind your position, generally done in a debate by presenting counter arguments and facts. I presnted links to actual research showing how rare an issue it is. You have only presented feelings, and information on PSAs from über-nanny state California. So far, the only data you have provided is based on supposition stemming from that California PSA campaign. For all we know, one incident in California triggered that PSA. You have provided no evidence that it ever occurred more often than it does now, only supposition.

    I have been trying to debate you to get the facts behind your position. Apparently you'd rather be offended. I've presented facts, you've presented supposition. There's no need to get all twisted up about it.


  • SockDev

    You more or less called me racist, and accused me of being panicky. So yes, I'm justified in being offended.



  • @abarker said:

    The State of California Fire Department? No such thing.

    Cal Fire, formerly known as CDF: http://www.fire.ca.gov/

    I used to be in their VIP program, many years ago.

    That said, their role is wildfires (brush and forest), not structure fires.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    It's a better way;

    Ok... why?

    @RaceProUK said:

    prevents the issue they have in the US, where someone could get back into the car while refuelling, which creates a static charge, then you get a spark and fwoof!

    The US has well over 300,000,000 inhabitants, virtually all of whom own cars. How often does this actually happen?

    It's something I know can happen in theory, but not only have I never seen it happen, I've never even heard of it happening.

    @RaceProUK said:

    Then they panic and pull the hose out (still pumping), and now they basically have a napalm pump in their hand.

    Well that's just stupid people. There's a big red fuel cut-off button on every pump.


  • SockDev

    And you can just fuck off right now.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Probably; it was a State of California PSA.

    Oh, well that's the problem. Why the fuck do you think California represents the US? Jesus, those fuckers are crazysauce.


  • SockDev

    I don't give a shit what you think. Go fuck yourself.


  • mod

    @RaceProUK said:

    You more or less called me racist,nationalist

    That's more accurate. And I simply posited it as a possibility.

    @RaceProUK said:

    accused me of being panicky.

    You mean at post 27 in this topic? After you were already getting offended and failing to provide any actual facts?

    @HardwareGeek said:

    Cal Fire, formerly known as CDF

    TIL.


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