Gas Cans: Less Safety, More Fun!

One of my hot buttons is when people try to protect me from myself. In some cases this might be tolerable but those are few and far between. What am I bitching about? The adult-proof ‘safety’ cap / spouts on gasoline cans. They take too many hands to operate!

Here we have two gas cans:The one on the left is modified while the one on the right is not. Yet. Also shown is a pair of diagonal cutters necessary for the following upgrade.

Here are the two ‘safety’ items I despise. The spring-loaded “Lock – Pour” lever and the thumb busting cap lock.

I’m all for safety, just ask my friends (!). But, when some ne’er do well safety faker shoves their hot buttered ‘safety’ features in my foxhole, well, I don’t take too kindly to ’em. Probably some condo dwelling cityslicker who’s never mowed a lawn in his life, hmm? Back before people got all worried about children playing with matches and gasoline we had the venerable 5 gallon jerry cans with a mouth so wide you can land a match in it from across the living room.

In the lower right you see a flexible metal spout that we affectionately called the donkey dick in the army. Why? I don’t have a clue.

So, wanting to go back in time to when things were simpler and less safe, I wanted an easier way to use my newfangled gas cans. I don’t savor having to use features I’m not interested in and didn’t ask for let alone ones that are inconvenient and clunky. While this might sound thickheaded, I never had any problems with using a donkey dick or even the plain, wide open plastic nozzle. I never had any leaks around the cap that a thumb busting ratchet assembly could ever have helped. ‘Safety’ feature creep has gone on for years and has reached the level of insult and I’m not going to take it lying down. The reasons for over regulation are manufacturer’s fear of liability from stupid people who’ve had to pay the stupid tax after setting themselves on fire (eugenics by fire) and the nanny-state adult babysitters at the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commision). I’m not just sticking it to the man, which is loads fun all by itself, but also asserting my first amendment right to the pursuit of happiness. Enough ranting (for now).

Here’s a view under the handles. The black one has not been modified, the green one has. You can see the black plastic ‘spring’ on the unmodified one. It is what forces the dispense switch back to the store position when the dispense handle is pressed and causes it to lock as soon as it’s released. In order to dispense again you must move the switch back to the pour setting.

The diagonals are pointing at the spot that must be cut.

The ‘spring’ as cut and removed. It requires quite a bit of cutting force to cut through. A utility or x-acto knife may be used in place of the diagonals.

The switch in the store (locked) position:

The switch in the pour (unlocked) position:

The thumb busting cap lock. It is forced to engage with the tank mounted locking tooth by two plastic ‘springs’ at the top end of the cap.

Here’s where to cut the springs. After cutting the first one, cut the other one just like the first.

The thumb busting cap lock as removed.

After removing the flexible spout from the filler neck you can use the cap from it to seal the can. We store our cans outside (you should too) so it keeps the rain out of the spout.

Again, these ‘safety’ features, once removed, do not make the cans any less safe when used correctly. I would not suggest removing them if you have small or dumb children running around willy-nilly and irresponsibly unsupervised. Older children can be taught to either keep their grubby paws off the damned cans or to use them responsibly in the same way that you teach them that knives are sharp and can significantly reduce the number of useful fingers installed on their hands.

The self relocking feature is completely unnecessary for adults. Imagine if your car doors had the same feature to prevent unauthorized opening thereby preventing fingers being trapped between it and the car body. If you can remember to lock your door or turn a power switch off after using an appliance then you should be able to remember to lock the can handle after use.

One thing that should be considered is that your insurance company might be less than impressed if you had a fire and they discover that the ‘safety’ features had been tampered with. Luckily for you, gas cans are quite flammable and any evidence of tampering should be quickly melted into oblivion seeing as how the fire will most likely occur near the can. In the unlikely event that the can is not destroyed by the fire, well, I’ll leave that problem up to you.

So there you go. Foxfur has taught you how to remove ‘safety’ features from dangerous objects and how to commit insurance fraud. Not bad, eh?