Carrying fuel inside vehicle

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 10:55
ThreadID: 24099 Views:15839 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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Can anyone provide reference to any regulations (either national or any state) showing that this is illegal? I've heard variations from "only diesel can be carried in the vehicle", "jerrycans can only be carried on the roof, not rear mounted", to "anything up to 250L of any type can be carried anywhere in or on the vehicle". Obviously there's fumes to consider if carrying petrol inside a vehicle, but can anyone show what the actual regulations are rather than pass on hearsay?

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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:13

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:13
I don't know who the author of this is



The Australian Dangerous Goods Code (sixth edition) specifies that fuels are dangerous goods.
Petrol is more flammable and dangerous than diesel, which is classified as a 'combustible'
rather than a 'highly flammable' product. The ADGC goes on to say that the maximum permissible
quantity of petrol that can be carried by a recreational vehicle, including camper trailers &
caravans, for non-commercial purposes, is an aggregate total of 250 litres.

Theoretically, you can carry as much diesel as you like; however, there are some cautions here.

The 'aggregate quantity' referred to in ADGC(6) specifically excludes an approved fuel cell on
the vehicle from its calculations. Therefore, a larger-capacity, extended-range tank that is
approved for the purpose, is not required to be added to the aggregate quantity, nor is an
original, factory fitted fuel tank.

Generally, extended-range tanks are designed to comply with Australian Design Rules (ADRs);
however, some States have specific regulations that also must be complied with. Approved
installers will be aware of these additional regulations if applicable.


The other question that causes much debate around the campfire is where on the vehicle these
AS2906 fuel containers can be appropriately stowed. This is a greyer area, as some scenarios
are simply not explicitly covered by existing regulations.

Furthermore, where State legislation is not specific, (as is the case with diesel), other
general transport legislation, such as that covering operation of vehicles in a safe manner,
comes into play.

This legislation refers to the 'duty of care' each vehicle operator must execute in order not
to place passengers or other road users at risk.

This type of legislation covers modifications, safety issues and overloading, which is quite
possible if you are carrying, say, 12x20-litre fuel containers in addition to recovery gear,
camping gear and so on.

Have your vehicle and/or trailer weighed on a public weighbridge to ensure you are not
overloading. Especially cheek the ball weight if you are loading jerry cans on the A frame of a

A further caution is that, like mixing drinks, mixing flammables is not recommended. Therefore,
do not store LPG and fuel in the same area or space.

All these suggestions are otherwise known as exercising commonsense.


The normal test, in legal terms, is based on the notion of the 'reasonable person'. A magistrate
(should) take a case on its merits and ask 'would a reasonable person have done/not done this'.

So, in the unlikely event of an accident, when insurers or victims are seeking to apportion
'blame', there is a very good reason for using AS2906-approved containers for carrying fuel,
and for loading and transporting those containers as safely as possible.

The other issue with carrying fuel in containers on or in your vehicle is, obviously, the
opinion of your insurer regarding such use. Take photographs of what and how you
propose to carry additional fuel, and request approval in writing to do so from your insurer.

There are certain scenarios where previously approved (or at least, not un-approved) situations
may no longer be valid. One of these is vehicles with jerry can holders on the bumpers or
exterior of the vehicle. Under current legislation, these would appear to be illegal for fuel
transportation under simple 'duty of care' provisions in transport legislation. In some States,
bumper bar legislation could make even the brackets to carry the jerry cans illegal.


Some States (such as Queensland) question the reasonableness of rear-mounted, or side-mounted
jerry cans on trailers (including camper trailers and caravans) due to the potential hazard in
an accident.

It should be fair to say that carrying fuel, in approved AS2906 containers, securely fixed or
fastened inside the vehicle, would be less likely to cause legal problems than mounting the
containers on the outside. On the A-frame is, apparently, considered 'inside' the external
dimensions of a trailer. Of course, many trailers and probably all caravans, have a three-way
(LPG-powered) fridge, which normally has a pilot light. Although the pilot light should be
extinguished when travelling, storing fuel inside a vehicle so fitted would be considered
extremely dangerous. Any fuel or fuel-vapour leak could create an explosive situation


Fuel stored on an approved roof luggage rack should be okay, provided it is in approved
containers, is adequately constrained, and doesn't overload the vehicle's roof load limits or
those specified by the rack's manufacturer.

So the bottom line is: do everything you possibly can to limit the risk of rupture or leakage.
Use AS2906-approved containers and regularly check them for wear and tear. Pack them to prevent
chafing, preferably with a non-absorbent material, as this could, in turn, become a hazard in
the event of leakage.

If using rope to secure containers, you should use synthetic rope, which is guaranteed resistant
to petroleum products. Manilla rope and cotton-based cord are absorbent.

Alternatively, you could use ratcheting tie-down straps but, again, cheek that the synthetic
webbing is resistant to petroleum products.



The WA Dangerous Goods Act 1988, and Dangerous Goods (Transport) (Road and Rail) Regulations
1999, contains the relevant regulations, both of which are based on the Australian Dangerous
Goods Code (ADGC), sixth edition.

The maximum permissible quantity is 250 litres of petrol, which should be carried in approved
containers in either the boot or on external brackets. It can be carried within the passenger
compartment, such as the back of a station wagon, in approved, properly restrained containers,
but this is not recommended.
Contact the Explosives and Dangerous Goods Division of the WA Department of Mineral and
Petroleum Resources for further into (08 9222 333)


The Transport Operations (Road Use Management - Dangerous Goods) Regulation 1998 permits
carrying up to 250 litres of dangerous goods (fuel) for personal use. The responsibility for
filling a jerry can and ensuring it is an approved container lies with the person filling the

Under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 owners are prohibited from
modifying their vehicle, its parts or equipment, and from carrying dangerous goods
(irrespective of quantity or position), in an unsafe manner.

This includes carrying containers upright, ensuring they don't leak and are properly secured,
and do not overload the vehicle (especially if transported on roof-racks). A booklet titled Load
Restraint Guide (available from Commonwealth Government Bookshops) should be consulted
Write to: Greg Swann, Group Manager, Vehicle Safety and Industry Reform Section,
Queensland Transport, PO Box 673 Fortitude Valley QLD 4006.


In South Australia, petrol is covered by the Dangerous Substances Act and Regulations, which are
in turn based on the ADGC; therefore, the same 250- limit applies.

Diesel is unregulated, as elsewhere, but the Department for Administrative and Information
Services advises that petrol (and diesel) transportation would be covered by the general duty of
care provisions contained in Sections 11 and 12 of the Dangerous Substances Act.

The Road Traffic Act has provisions for duly of care relating to vehicle safety issues such as
overhanging loads and impact protection. They also state that, while carrying fuel in the
driver's vapour space (in a van or wagon), is much debated, it is up to each individual driver
to assess their own risk and duty of care provisions when deciding whether to fit a range tank
or carry fuel in jerry cans. Dangerous Substances Branch, Workplace Services (08) 8303 0447


In Victoria, the relevant legislation is the Road Act 1995, which has been adopted from
the, (Dangerous Goods) Act -1995 and the Road Transport (Dangerous Goods) Regulations.

The Regulations reference the ADGC under which Regulation 1.10 exempts small quantities of fuel
from the rigours of the Dangerous Goods legislation. This refers, again, to petrol only. Diesel
is not considered dangerous goods.

They maintain it is the responsibility of the driver items, regardless of type, are firmly and
a fuel should be stored in AS2906 containers minimum requirement.
Write to: Victorian WorkCover Authority, Dangerous Goods Unit
GPO Box 4306 Melbourne Vic 3001


The Tasmanian government refers these, issues to the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport)
Regulations 1998, which covers general safety and load restraint safety.

The filling of fuel containers is also covered by AS1940 - Storage and Handling of Combustible
and Flammable Liquids. They advise that a person can carry 250 litres of petrol for private use
(as per the ADOC), but the containers must meet AS2906 Fuel Containers/Portable/Plastics and

Tasmanian Vehicle and Traffic (Vehicle Standards) that an object fitted to a vehicle must be
designed, built and maintained to minimise the likelihood of injury. As such, this would
prohibit the fitting of jerry cans containing dangerous or explosive substances to any vehicle
(car,4WD, caravan, trailer), especially given the likelihood of rear or side-impact collisions.

Owners of vehicles should check the 'fine print' of their insurance policies. If fuel is
transported in an unsafe manner and an accident leads to greater damage or injury than might
otherwise have been the case apportion blame to the driver and/or invalidate the policy.
Write to: The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources,


The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and WorkCover NSW are the competent authorities
for dangerous goods control in NSW. They' administer the Road and Rail Transport (Dangerous
Goods) Act 1997 and the Road Transport Reform (Dangerous Goods) (NSW) Regulations 1998.

Under these laws, jerry cans must be approved containers for the transport of Class 3 liquids
(petrol) (ie, AS2906) and the maximum permissible quantity is 250 litres. Diesel is not
considered a dangerous good, but a combustible, and must be carried in a safe manner.

Division 9.3.1 (1) (e) of the ADGC states that 'if the package (ie, jerry can) contains
dangerous goods of a kind that may lead to the formation of flammable, toxic or other harmful
atmospheres - the package must be stowed so that no harmful atmosphere will accumulate in the
cabin If the package leaks'.

The above would indicate that great care should be taken when storing jerry cans inside a 4WD's
luggage compartment, whether it is a separate boot or part of the passenger compartment. AS2906
containers are designed not to vent to the atmosphere, provided they are in good condition and
the seals/lids are functioning correctly.

Write to: NSW Environment Protection Authority
Dangerous Goods Office
59-61 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW 2000.


Only containers which comply with Northern Territory Dangerous Goods Regulation 217 can be used
to transport flammable, (petrol.) and combustible (diesel) fuels. Essentially, this covers
containers complying with AS1533/34 and AS1 940, but 'approved container' is also specified
which indicates that containers complying with AS2906 would also be acceptable.

The Northern Territory Dangerous Goods legislation is b ADGC, which specifies that not more
than 250 litres of petrol can be carried. No quantity is specified for diesel.

Information bulletins are available at or contact
The Department of Industries and Business, Work Health (08) 8999 511 8


The transport of fuel is covered under the Dangerous Goods Act. 1975, Dangerous, Goods
Regulations 1978, Road Transport Reform (Dangerous Goods) Act 1995 and Road Transport
(Dangerous Goods) Regulations. The latter takes its requirements from the ADGC.

The DGA (1975) Section, 12 and 14 require fuel to be carried in appropriate, containers
to prevent spillage or leakage, and make it an offence to carry fuel in a manner likely to
cause death/injury, or damage to property.

Section 37(1) of the RTR (DIG) Act1 1995 requires fuel be transported in a safe manner.
Sub Section (2) makes it an offence to do so where a person "ought to have known" that what
they were doing was unsafe or likely to cause damage to persons or property.
Contact: ACT WorkCover (Dangerous Goods) (02) 6207 6354.

AnswerID: 117037

Follow Up By: timber - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:25

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:25
It came from the 4wd Monthly 2002 Yearbook edition.

The article was headed "Fuel Canned" and was written by Mark Walker.


FollowupID: 372506

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:57

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:57
Bloody excellent - thanks!
FollowupID: 372512

Reply By: Member Boroma 604 - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 13:42

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 13:42
Suggest you use 10litre instead of 20, much easier to handle when pouring etc & take up no more room. Have a couple of the red Canadian made ones with pourer built in under lid. Got them for about $23-00 ea, shop around the price varys largely.
AnswerID: 117051

Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 13:51

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 13:51
They do take up more room as you need to carry more of them. Which means you have to carry twice as many 10 litre containers to supply the same amount as a 20 litre jerrycan..........what the?

Personnally I like the fact I have 2 containers with 40 litres in them rather than 20 litres when things go pair shaped in the middle of nowhere.
FollowupID: 372675

Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:15

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:15
This subject has been discussed here many times.

Mad Dog provided the answer.

I am carrying 6 jerries of diesel inside my truck at the moment as I am in transit. Have carried petrol also for many years. Its quite safe unless you have leaky seals and you tend to smoke inside your vehicle.

I prefer 20lt steel jerrycans. Tried the plastic ones but did not find them as seal proof as the steel ones. They are however easier to pour with the spout fitted. There is also a spout which can be bought to fit a steel jerrycan.

AnswerID: 117090

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:48

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 17:48
I lke the plastic ones.
I find that they expand and contract as required by the weather and as i am an oil burner there is not a worry. I DO NOT LIKE them in the vehicle as I cannot stand the stench of diesel. So my two drums go on top or on the back of the van in properly secured holders.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 117096

Reply By: tifino - Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 22:05

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005 at 22:05
thanks to mad dog for the comprehensive input.
I regularily have up to 12 x 20 L plastic jerrys onboard. That much lasts me till the next trip to Melb when I take the opportunity to fill up again while in town. Thanks also to the 4c discount outlets the overall savings come up to 16c/L below the gippsland ripoffs. The jerrys are all to the AS standards, and tied down with ratchet straps. Having tried most jerry brands, No1 is the willow with the 5cm diam pour hole. The 20L black Rheems I will never use for petrol again! its seals DONT! do the job, & now relegated to holding some diesel for the old tractor out back. Theres also another model of red 20L jerry around to beware of. it's brandless, and has 2 x 25mm diam black capped pour holes, its is almost as bad as the rheem & both types claim to meet the standards.

There are some other factors to consider with such fuel loads on board. It'd be great if other drivers would also take the trouble to realign their headlights and adjust tyres etc. All factors including these come into play if youre concerned with safety as much as the regulations.

there are some fringe benefits of having these qtys of fuel onboard. They make a great anti-tailgater deterrent when theyre viewable thru the back window of the wagon. the idiots back off quick and give you back your space.
AnswerID: 117616

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