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Why Are Gas Cans Red?

Two gas cans are filled up at a gas pump.

Sometimes, you just don’t question things because they’ve always been the norm. Take gas cans, for example. Have you ever noticed that they’re always red? Truly, always red. But why?

As it turns out, there is a reason gas cans are red, and it’s all about safety.

To help protect people, OSHA requires that all highly-flammable liquids be stored in color-coded containers. Gas specifically is stored in red containers. Gasoline’s incredibly low flashpoint means that it easily meets the criteria for a highly flammable liquid and thus, it must be stored in a red container.

Essentially, the red color of a gas can serves as a visual cue to indicate potential danger. This helps keep users safe around potentially hazardous materials.

Eagle Red Galvanized Steel Type I Gasoline Safety Can

Keep your gas safe in this steel can.

It’s worth noting that these color regulations only apply to commercial use, which means personal use is far more lenient. You don’t absolutely have to keep your gasoline in a red can. However, it’s still a best practice to use red safety cans for gasoline even for personal needs. When you go to purchase one, it’s likely going to be red regardless of how you intend to use it.

But red gas cans aren’t the only color-related regulation.s There are also specific shades for other liquids. Diesel, for example, is usually stored in yellow cans, kerosene in blue, and oil in green. Think about it as a quick color code for safety.

So the next time you see a bright red gas can, you’ll know exactly what’s in it plus that it’s a necessary safety precaution to prevent accidents and ensure proper handling.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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