I have 2.5 and 5 gallon gas cans that I use to fuel engines for various home improvement projects: lawn mower, weed whacker, chainsaw, electrical generator, post auger, pressure washer, etc.

I fill up these gasoline cans at the local gas station. The gas pumps are primarily designed for modern cars.

Trying to fill the gas cans on the ground, the gas pump "clicks off" every second or so. It's very difficult and annoying to fill the can. You need to squeeze the handle at the perfect amount of pressure, and even then the flow still often turns off.

example picture of filling gas tanks

My gas cans are newer plastic post-2009 EPA regulation cans. They have no vent and a permanent plastic filter after taking off the cap, which restricts the in-flow. This question also applies to filling metal jerry cans.

The station's pumps are likewise a modern pump design with safety features such as automatic cut-off for overflow or vapors. The pump's regulator cuts off gas unless in the perfect position, which seems to be only designed for new cars. The filler neck has a sleeve that requires pressure.

How can I fill a modern gas can at a modern gas station quickly and efficiently, without the gas pump clicking off every second?

  • 2
    Have had the same problem sometimes filling my pickup. Too much of a squeeze and pump shuts off. Remember the good old days when you drove over a rubber hose that went ding.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 17:53
  • 2
    Move to New Jersey where pumping gas is someone else's problem. :)
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 18:29
  • 4
    This is not about Home Improvement.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 18:40
  • 5
    Using a gas can to fill your chainsaw to reno your living room is Home something.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 18:51
  • 4
    This question is absolutely on topic for DIY: "tools, materials, and best practices for home improvement tasks" ... "maintenance of major appliances" ... common tags chainsaw, lawn-mower, generator...
    – pkamb
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 20:41

3 Answers 3


I've started bringing a funnel with me when filling up gas cans at the pump.

I use the funnel to jam the filler neck sleeve / retaining ring into the on position, as if it were inserted into a modern car.

Once the funnel is held in place correctly, you can dispense a full stream of liquid gasoline from the funnel tip. Put that into your gas can and it should fill up easily without clicking off or sensing an overflow.

Obviously, as with all things gasoline, be extremely careful decanting this flammable liquid.

bring a funnel


I've never had this issue. I would suggest a different gas station and not putting the gas pump all the way into the can because it might be sensing (lack of) air flow?


I've never had a problem filling up gas cans, whether new plastic ones or old steel ones.

Note that the pump is designed to shut off if those little holes in the narrow end of the nozzle are covered by gas in the can. This can happen fairly early in the fill cycle if you have the nozzle pushed all the way down into the can. Just put the nozzle part way in, then raise it as the can fills.

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