We are fascinated by urban legends, especially when they make their way into our daily lives. So I thought I would help set the record straight on a popular story about the dangers of refueling your vehicle at the gas station.
Claim: Cellular phones have touched off explosions at gas stations.
This rumour can be traced back to 1999, with various versions of stories where a driver suffered burns and had their car severely damaged when gasoline vapors ignite from a ringing cell phone.
According to Snopes.com, a website that tracks down urban legends and rumors there has never been an actual recorded case of this happening.
Both the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) and the American Petroleum Institute have issued statements denying the risk. The CTIA said, “There is no evidence whatsoever that a wireless phone has ever caused ignition or explosion at a station anywhere in the world. Wireless phones don’t cause gas stations to blow up. Warnings being posted in petrol stations simply perpetuate the myth.” The American Petroleum Institute said, “We can find no evidence of someone using a cellphone causing any kind of accident, no matter how small, at a gas station anywhere in the world.”
Despite this, Canada’s major gas pump operators have banned customers from using mobile phones while at the gas pump. Just in case. So don’t panic if you are refueling and see the driver next to you using their cell phone. They may be breaking the rules, but they are not putting you at risk.