Enforcement Advisory: #189: Manufacturers and Distributers of Portable Fuel Containers and Spouts

This page last reviewed March 3, 2009

Advisory

Manufacturers and Distributers of
Portable Fuel Containers and Spouts

Number 189

November 2000


PORTABLE FUEL CONTAINERS AND SPOUTS REGULATION

This advisory notifies manufacturers and distributors of portable fuel containers or spouts that the sale of these devices in California will be subject to a new regulation, effective January 1, 2001 (Title 13, California Code of Regulations, sections 2467-2467.8). This regulation requires spill-proof portable refueling systems (a.k.a. gas cans) and spill-proof spouts sold in California after January 1, 2001 to meet performance standards that will reduce hydrocarbon emissions.

This regulation will address spillage, evaporation, and permeation emissions from the portable fueling of on-road and off-road mobile sources (lawnmowers, chainsaws, personal watercraft, motorcycles, etc.). These containers can be used to refuel a broad range of off-road vehicles and equipment, and are a significant source of evaporative and permeation emissions. Although emissions from a single container may be minimal, the aggregate emissions from these containers are approximately 87 tons per day of smog-forming reactive organic gases.

This regulation allows manufacturers and distributors a one-year sell-through period for containers or spouts manufactured before January 1, 2001 if the containers or spouts are marked with the dates of manufacture. There is no requirement for owners of gas cans or spouts sold before that date to modify their gas cans or to scrap them and purchase new ones.

The performance standards require that any portable fuel container and spout shall have an automatic shut-off which stops the fuel flow before the target fuel tank overflows. Any portable fuel container and spout shall automatically close and seal when removed from the target fuel tank and remain completely closed when not dispensing fuel. The container shall have only one opening for both filling and pouring. The standard specifies fuel flow rates that are a function of the container capacity. The container shall not exceed a permeation rate of 0.4 grams per gallon per day. The manufacturers of both spill-proof systems and spill-proof spouts are required to warrant these products for a period of not less than one year against defects in materials and workmanship. The Air Resources Board Enforcement Division will determine whether portable fuel containers and spouts sold in California comply with the performance standards and regulation. The Monitoring and Laboratory Division as requested by the Enforcement Division will conduct the testing of the portable fuel containers and spouts.

Each manufacturer of a spill-proof system must clearly display on the container the phrase "Spill-Proof System," a date of manufacture or representative date, a representative code identifying the portable fuel container or portable fuel container and spout, and fuel flow rate.

Each manufacturer of a spill-proof spout must clearly display the phrase "Spill-Proof Spout," a date of manufacture or representative date, a representative code identifying the spout, and fuel flow rate. The spout must clearly display the make, model number, and size of only those portable fuel container(s) the spout is designed to accommodate. These labeling requirements can either be on the spout or on an affixed label.

Each manufacturer of a spill-proof system or spill-proof spout must file an explanation of both the date code and representative codes with the Executive Officer of the Air Resources Board by January 1, 2001, or within three months after the start of production, and within three months after any change in coding.

Each manufacturer of a portable fuel container or spout or both portable fuel container and spout subject to the performance standard that, due to its design or other features which render it unable to refuel one or more on-road motor vehicles, must clearly display the phrase "Not Intended For Refueling On-Road Motor Vehicles" on the spill-proof system and accompanying package, if any.

Manufacturers of portable fuel containers or portable fuel containers and spouts not subject to or not in compliance with the performance standard may not display or be labeled with the phrase "Spill-Proof System" or "Spill-Proof Spout" on the portable fuel container or spout.

A copy of the Portable Fuel Containers and Spouts Regulation is attached. Additional information on this regulation can be obtained at this website http://www.arb.ca.gov/consprod/fuel-containers/pfc/pfc.htm or ARB's Public Information Office.

If you have any questions about this advisory, please contact Mr. Steve Giorgi, Manager, Consumer Products Enforcement Section at (916) 322-6965. Written inquiries may be addressed to:

James R. Ryden, Chief
Enforcement Division
California Air Resources Board
P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95812

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