What is a jerry can? A guide on how to legally store petrol


Jerry can

If you want to store fuel legal guidelines say you have to have the right container.

There are only two types you can use, the metal 10-litre and the five-litre plastic can.

Both have to say Highly Flammable on them.

The maximum you can store at your home is 30 litres.

The jerry can is a 20-litre metal can. It is illegal to store petrol in one of these because you are not allowed to carry 20 litres in just one container.

The 10-litre metal can

The maximum you can use is two of these = 20 litres in metal cans.

The five-litre plastic can

The maximum you can use is two of these = 10 litres.

OR a combination of metal + plastic cans

The maximum you can store is 30 litres using a combination.

2 x 10 litre metal cans + 2 X five-litre plastic cans = 30 litres in total.

And what is a jerry can?

Jerry can
Image caption 20-litre jerry cans are illegal for home use

A jerry can holds 20 litres in one container, which is against the law.

It is an old fashioned bit of kit, made out of strong pressed metal and designed in Germany back in the 1930s.

How do you get fuel from the petrol station ?

There is a grey area in the law. It is not clear on how much you can keep in your car.

It's down to the police and whether the officer who stops you thinks it's a "dangerous load" or "may be hazardous".

The Fire Brigade say if you're stopped by the police, carrying fuel in cans could possibly be seen as "a dangerous or hazardous load".

The AA also say they are "desperately worried" about people storing petrol and diesel which it describes as "incredibly, incredibly dangerous".

The AA recommends people "shouldn't even contemplate storing it at all".

However, it is not illegal to store fuel at home as long as you stick to the set limits.

How to store fuel at home?

The Health and Safety Executive says you can legally store 30 litres of petrol at your home but there are strict guidelines about how and where you should put it, because fuel is highly flammable.

It must be kept in ...

a) in a shed

b) in a garage

c) Outside no more than six metres from your house - ie, at the end of a drive.

The laws ruling petrol date back to 1929.

The maximum you can legally store is 30 litres.