Monday, February 10, 2014

Best Motorsports Gas / Fuel / Utility Can or Jug

I ride a dirt bike and have some vintage bikes so I often need to carry fuel in my truck for rides and events.
I've had the opportunity to try many kinds of cans, so I thought I'd report my experience.

First a few words about storing fuel. You really shouldn't store fuel for very long in a plastic container. Modern fuels have components that escape as a vapor through the plastic and thus the fuel will degrade over time. Additionally most fuels in the USA are oxygenated and the ethanol component can separate out of the fuel, especially if there is any moisture available to the fuel. There are also safety issues with storing fuel at home. Personally, I use plastic containers only for temporary use, and afterwards I pour any leftover fuel into my truck's gas tank.
I never store fuel at home in one of these jugs.  Read all the warnings on your can or jug and follow the directions. Use a can or jug at your own risk, these are dangerous!

Getting a real gas can can be hard these days in California. But if you already have one, my understanding is that you can legally use it as long as it seals properly (no open hoses!). But you must check the laws yourself, I'm not an expert on those issues.

Regardless of the choice of plastic or metal, I only use a jug that seals with screw down caps. No snap vents or stick in plugs! And don't use any of those open ended hoses. You don't want a simple knock-over to spill fuel.

Lastly, some of these jugs come with cosmetic stickers on them. The plastic jugs, as I mentioned above, allow some volatile vapors to migrate through the plastic. And that makes it very hard for a sticker to stay on the jug. I don't think the decals will last on any regular plastic jug. (On dirt bikes, manufacturers often laminate the decals into the plastic tanks for this very reason.)

Delphos Old Ironsides 5 Gallon Gas Can
I'm only half joking with this vintage Old Ironsides gas can made by Delphos. These cans are wonderfully made and I love them. Steel is the best material for a gas can as some of the volatile vapors in modern fuels can escape through plastic. Sadly, I don't have a pouring hose that fits it and you cannot easily see how much fuel is left in the can. So I use this can to hold my used oil for recycling.

VP Racing 5 Gallon "Pail" Can
If you want 5 gallons of fuel from VP, this is how you get it. And I highly recommend VP C9 fuel. These cans have a pull out plastic spout. You can get a hose that attaches to the spout so you can use the fuel directly from the can. But; I have had the pull out spouts fail on 2 out of my last 7 cans I have purchased! One cracked and made it impossible use the spout. Another failed when the cap pulled off instead of pulling the spout out of the can. In both cases the expensive can of fuel became unusable to me when I needed it in the desert! So I do NOT recommend using this can to pour the fuel into your vehicle. You may need another jug for that.

VP Racing Round Motorsports Container ($30.00 without hose)
VP Deluxe Hose with cap ($8.50)
Years ago I bought a round 5 gallon VP Racing jug like this one. They are the "industry standard". They are reasonably priced and it seems almost everyone uses them. I always found this jug awkward to use. The handle wasn't well placed to lift the jug high up and pour into the tank and the round sides were hard to hold. Also, on my jug, the round opening wasn't perfectly round and so fuel sometimes leaked from under the cap. One good feature of the jug is it is the wide and very stable. VP also offered a square version of this jug, but I haven't tried one of those.
Here is what VP says about the jug:
Made with only the highest quality virgin high-density polyethylene, including 30% more material than standard containers to withstand the roughest treatment. The containers are subjected to a 15-point quality test and carry a 3-year limited warranty. They feature an ergonomically contoured handle, bottom grip for easy pouring and a non-breakable multipurpose cap with rubber gaskets.

Matrix Concepts M3 Utility Can ($59.95 with hose)

After becoming frustrated with the VP jug I bought the Matrix jug. It's really expensive but got great reviews in the magazines. I liked the idea that it is smaller with a 4 gallon capacity. It's easier to hold and pour because it is square and the lower edge works as a kind of a handle. You can see I used a sharpie pen the highlight the gallon marks.
The problem with this can was the actual pouring. Its hard to get the last bits of gas out because the spout isn't on the end of the can. Also, I regularly had fuel spill out of the vent on the gas cap because it was hard to angle the jug to get all the fuel out without having it reach the vent in the cap. Another problem is that the hose seals with a simple plug, not a screw cap.
Here is what Matrix says about the jug:
Comes complete with transportation cap and 5” long extender hose spout with 1 -1/8” plastic fill reducer with cap.

3” extra wide fill cap or easy and quick filling.

Strategically placed side handle and special unique bottom handle for balance and easy handling.

Made from hi - quality HDPE plastic with heavy duty wall thickness.

Comes with a warranty against leaking or cracking.

Reinforced ribbed bottom for extra strength.

4.0 gallon capacity makes the weight of the can easy to handle.

Utility Can includes an indent that allows the use of Matrix Concepts tie-downs to strap into place during transport.

Exclusive “name and number panels” give you the ability to personalize it, giving it the custom factory look.

Pit Posse Utility Jug ($34.95 with hose)
I've seen this jug for sale under several names besides Pit Posse including EZ-Hold and PU-Products. This thing is a winner. Five gallon capacity, two nice handles, clearly marked gallon and liter lines and the fuel comes out of the top of the cap. I also think the the square shape as it is easier to hold and pour. The only negative I found is that the jug is tall and so maybe it's not quite as stable as the others.
Here is what Pit Posse says about the jug:
Square design eliminates unusable space around jug
Double handle design for ease of use
Nylon cap uses rubber o ring for a better seal
Outside of jug has a guide to determine contents remaining
5 gal size
Unique inverted ribs prevent swelling and expansion for accurate fluid marking
1-year warranty
This container is intended for storage and/or transport for recycling and proper disposal of common fluids and is made of #2 HDPE.
Pit Posse Spout Bender ($19.95)
Pit posse also makes this ridiculously expensive but really awesome pouring hose. There is a wire that attached to the hose cap and when you remove the cap you use the wire to bend the hose and hold it in place. Now your hose is at a convenient angle to actually pour the fuel into your bike.
Here is what Pit Posse says about the hose:
Includes hose & bender hardware (does not include jug or jug cap)
Fits any 3/4" jug tread
Angles hose for easy pouring. Tethered hose cap
Hooks at base to pull hose down
Makes filling your tank easier!
1-year warranty

In my opinion: If you must have a plastic jug: get the Pit Posse jug. And if you find it troublesome getting your hose into the tank when pouring; consider dropping $20 on the Pit Posse Spout Bender.

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