Low fuel prices spark safety fears

Bay of Plenty customers making the most of cheap fuel are being reminded not to throw common sense out the window after filling up soft drink bottles and risking explosions on the forecourt and at home.

Z Energy reports a number of people have been spotted trying to fill plastic bottles with petrol and blame the recent drop in fuel prices.

Customers have been spotted filling soft drink bottles with fuel at local petrol stations such as Z.

And a nationwide glance sees most instances have been linked to the Bay of Plenty.

Z Energy’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment manager Julie Rea says with petrol prices at a five year low, customers need to understand the risks before deciding to store fuel at home.

“Worryingly, we’ve seen a few customers trying to fill fuel into containers such as soft drink bottles,” says Julie.

“But using an unapproved fuel container is not only illegal, it’s highly dangerous and can put your entire household at risk.

In the last three months fuel prices have plummeted 47 cents per litre.

And the low prices, coupled with less than safe behaviour, has seen Z Energy service stations in the Bay anecdotally reporting an increasing number of customers filling up with unapproved containers.

With the hugely volatile nature of petrol, these bottles could ignite on the service station forecourts or in storage at home.

This has forced the company to proactively manage this in the Bay, and will be running a container swap day in the next month – allowing customers to come in and swap their unapproved container for an approved container at half price.

Julie says if people are deciding to store a container of fuel at home, for safety reasons it is recommended only small quantities are kept in a purpose built, approved fuel storage container.

If someone chooses to hold more than 50 litres, they must be aware there are additional legal requirements that must be met.

“Fuel products such as petrol are highly flammable,” she adds. “If not stored and handled properly, these sorts of substances can seriously endanger people, property and the environment.”

Gull commercial manager Ulrik Olsen doesn’t believe common sense has completely “gone out the window” due to the lower petrol prices, but cautions customers to play it safe.

“It’s a real issue and it’s quite dangerous,” says Ulrik. “People just need to be using the right stuff.

“We can’t discourage people enough from using strange things to put petrol in. We have seen them using open fishing bins, which isn’t a good idea when you go down the road.”

The Environmental Protection Authority states that fuel can only be stored and transported in approved fuel containers that have an appropriate sealing cap, are made of metal or a durable plastic that won’t react with the fuel and that are clearly labelled to identify the fuel and the potential hazards.

They must also store no more than 50 litres.

For more information click here.


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