Cell Phones and Gas Stations

December 16, 2014


As 2014 draws to a close, we still meet folks who think cell phones are the source of sparks and fires at gas stations. This Myth Buster video is a few years old but still very relevant. Plus our friend Bob Renkes of PEI is in it. Thanks Bob!

But beware getting back into your car while fueling. I was in line filling up the other day and both drivers, one in the car ahead of me and one behind, slide back into the car while waiting for the car to fill up (was cold outside). The video above does warn that while cell phones don’t cause the spark, static fires are real and can be caused by re-entering the vehicle while fueling, as shown in the video below.

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  1. Melissa says:

    I am very disappointed to see the Mythbusters video posted about cell phones not causing fires. This is not true! Mythbusters did not perform the test correctly–they did not touch buttons on the cell phone.

    Look for the video of the Shell driver delivering fuel and used his cell phone as a flashlight. He started a fire and was thrown from the top of the truck.

    Also, at one of our stations, Conoco in Highlands Ranch, CO, we had a cell phone ignite a fire at the pump when the customer answered a call.

  2. Ben Thomas says:

    Hi Melissa. Thanks for the response. The cell phone fire question has gone back and forth for many years but both PEI and API are solidly behind the science that says there simply isn’t enough static electricity in a phone to cause a spark. Through YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites the cell phone fire myth get stirred up from time to time.

    The Shell driver mentioned was not on a cell phone and I suspect the driver at your Ranch CO site created some static another way, possibly getting out of the car. Usually too the dispenser is not properly grounded when these types of fires occur.

    But static is real and I encourage you to read more at

    Happy Holidays and thanks again for replying.