Gasoline Safety

Gasoline safety information from Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority.

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) licenses and inspects gas stations and marinas. TSSA also regulates propane dispensing facilities and propane cylinder exchange sites that may sometimes be at a gas station or marina. 

TSSA also has the authority to inspect private fuel outlets, such as:

  • Municipalities that fuel their own fire trucks.

  • Farms and other agricultural operations that have fueling facilities.

  • Courier companies that fuel their own fleet of delivery vehicles.

  • Car rental agencies with fueling facilities.

  • Any other company with fueling facilities for its fleet vehicles

  • Campgrounds, rental cottages or fishing camps where fuel is provided as part of the rental agreement for boats, ATVs or snowmobiles. 

Gas stations

The next time you stop at a gas station, remember that gasoline can be dangerous if you don’t handle it safely. 

At the gas station, you must follow these rules:

  • Do not smoke within three metres (10 feet) of a gasoline pump. Do not smoke inside your vehicle when it is being refueled.

  • Turn your vehicle off when you refuel it.

  • Do not force or jam a pump nozzle open when you are refueling. 

  • Keep children in the vehicle. Children should never play at the pump island or help you hold or use the pump nozzle.

  • Always stand by the pump while you are refueling. Never leave it unattended.

  • If you are refueling a motorcycle, dismount first. Fuel spilled onto the hot exhaust or engine could cause a fire, injuring you and others.

  • Before you refuel a recreational vehicle, camper, motor home or similar vehicle, make sure to extinguish any propane pilot lights inside.

Filling a portable container

Only use fuel containers that have been certified by an accredited certification organization. For example, look for a logo from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) International or the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).

  • Fill containers well away from sparks or ignition sources. Do not smoke while you fill a container.

  • Fill the container only to about 90 per cent of its capacity so the gas can expand in warmer temperatures. 

  • When you are filling a portable container, keep the container on the ground. Make sure the dispensing nozzle stays in full contact with the container. Doing so will help prevent static electricity from building up and discharging, which could ignite the gasoline.  

  • When you have filled the container, tighten both the fill and vent caps. 

  • Never leave a portable container in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car.

Storing gasoline

Gasoline can be dangerous if you don’t store it properly, and you should only store it when doing so is necessary. Use a container that has been certified by an accredited certification organization such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) International or the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).

  • Keep gasoline containers tightly sealed. Handle them gently to avoid spills.

  • Do not store gasoline in the basement of your home or cottage. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can travel along the floor to ignition sources.  

  • Store gasoline at room temperature in a detached shed or garage. This building must be at least 15 meters (50 feet away) from a heat or ignition source like direct sunlight or a pilot light.  

  • Make sure you have a BC-rated fire extinguisher — otherwise known as a dry chemical extinguisher — near the place where you are storing gasoline. In case of a fire, do not try to extinguish the flames with water, as water will spread the flames. 

Disposing of gasoline

  • The best way to dispose of gasoline is to use it up. 

  • If you must discard gasoline, be sure to take it to the hazardous waste disposal centre in your area. Small amounts can be left outside to evaporate; leave them in an open container away from children and pets. 

  • Never pour gasoline onto the ground, down a toilet or sewer, or into a drain. If you do, the gasoline could cause a fire, or seep into streams, bays, lakes or groundwater.

  • Check with your local government or hazardous waste disposal centre to determine how to dispose of spilled gasoline.  

  • Place recovered gasoline and cleanup materials in approved, labeled containers for proper disposal.  

  • If you have gasoline-fired equipment that you will not use for an extended time, drain the fuel tank and then run the engine until it stalls. 


  • When boating, have a fire extinguisher on board that is rated 5BC, at minimum. In other words, the extinguisher should be able to handle a gasoline fire of at least five square feet (0.465 square metres).

  • Make sure everyone leaves the boat when you are refueling. 

  • Turn off the boat engine before you refuel. Also make sure to turn off all auxiliary power sources, and pilot lights on any gas appliances.

  • Before you refuel, lift the boat’s engine cover to check for leaks and odours.  

  • If it is safe to do so after you refuel, run the bilge blower for at least four minutes before you start the engine.