Tag Archives: static electricty

Science Friday: Can a Cell Phone Cause A Gas Station Fire?

You have likely seen or heard warnings about using cell phones while filling up at the gas station. The warning is not mandatory but many gas stations have them because many are convinced it can happen. Except it cannot. What does cause fires at gas stations is either static electricity that is not discharged prior to handling the gas pump or an ignition source like match being struck to light a cigarette (or possibly a discarded burning cigarette). What makes these fires worse is when a fire does break out right at where you are fueling the car. Many pull the fuel pump out and end up making it worse by dripping the burning fuel right on the ground. That always spreads the fire and then a major fire breaks out. At any rate those clever fellows over at Mythbusters looked into this and here is the result of their examination of this myth.