How government wrecked the gas can

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Link here. This story should not surprise you. More important however are the article’s concluding words:

Ask yourself this: If they can wreck such a normal and traditional item like this, and do it largely under the radar screen, what else have they mandatorily malfunctioned? How many other things in our daily lives have been distorted, deformed and destroyed by government regulations?

If some product annoys you in surprising ways, there’s a good chance that it is not the invisible hand at work, but rather the regulatory grip that is squeezing the life out of civilization itself.

Almost all of the petty technological annoyances we struggle with today are the result of foolish federal regulation.

Hat tip John Harman.



  • LocalFluff

    I recommend “Hack Your Showerhead” by Jeffrey tucker. Free online. The government forces producers to put in plastics that block the water flow in your showerhead! You can get a good shower by “hacking” it, removing the obstruction. In export versions to countries without destructive regulations, the obstruction is gone. It is cheaper to basically manufacture a good product, and then introduce malfunctions into it. (I wonder how this applies to deliberate space flight malfunctions on governmental orders?)

    All the regulations we have today still don’t seem to work, since stuff like this happens.

  • Garry

    Depending on where you live, you also have state and/or local regulations that can be very imposing. That’s one reason why I’m glad I don’t work in NYC as much as I ised to.

    Lots of these issues come up becuase of the “one size fits all” mentality. Just because Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and other places don’t have enough water resources, I have to contend with stringent regulations aimed at water conservation, including limits on toilets, showerheads, etc., even though I have my own well on property served by a seemingly limitless aquifer.

    As the article points out, the regulations often make the situation worse. Instead of flushing a toilet once, we have to flush it 2 or 3 times to get the job done, using more water than if we had flushed an older toilet once.

  • Ted

    Wish I had kept the old one gallon style ‘jerry’ can with the tin nozzle. Easy to fill, easy to pour and not a pain in the neck to use. My new gas cans have a home made fix – it’s called a funnel. Unscrew the nut-job nozzle and carefully pour into what ever with the funnel. Oh wait, there’s a squad of EPA enforcers at my door .. wait wait

  • ken anthony

    Low flow toilets by themselves are worth a new revolutionary war! Idiots!

  • Jim

    I did my own research on this topic when I wanted to buy “Jerry Cans” like the military uses.

    I found the reasoning was a California study that found that a large percentage of all gas cans are not closed when they are sitting in a garage. And because of this the supposed fumes were a claimed to be a major detriment to the local air quality so the California Air Resources Board adopted a rule about the containers.

    The premise to me is bunk on its face because the fumes in an enclosed garage from an open gas can would be terrible. And also its bunk because Texas did their own study and found that the rate of them being open was much less. But being stupid Texas said that their study must be wrong because it did not match California’s and they adopted California’s rule in some form.

    Then the US EPA coming along behind made the rule mentioned in the article. We can all thank the “science” from environmental folks, I’ve only ever found a few that knew what the hell they are doing.

  • wayne

    Garry– good stuff.

    Interesting podcast from Victor Davis Hanson this week, commenting on California. The past 5-7 years, they have refused to built additional reservoir’s (“at the 500 foot level”) to specifically capture rainwater runoff. As we speak, they are draining off millions of gallons of current rainwater (into the ocean) because they can’t store it all right now, in anticipation of snow-pack run-off later this season. Apparently, these mini-reservoir’s cost $1 billion each, but they prefer to waste OUR money ($5-10 billion, most of which comes from the highway “trust fund”) on high-speed-rail.
    “The Classicist” Victor Davis Hanson
    Podcast available at–

    Who leaves their gas-cans open, in their garage? (That’s a quick way to burn your garage down.)
    One does not have to be a rocket-scientist to know & understand that gasoline is a mixture of aromatic hydrocarbons…that evaporate.
    Highly recommend anyone who wants “old-style” gas cans— search them out at garage & estate-sales and/or locate anyone who deals in “old, new-stock.” (You would be surprised what you can buy in bulk.)

  • Joe

    Kind of like how water heaters had to be redesigned to not cause an explosion when open containers of flamibles were stored in close proximity to them, who in the heck would keep gasoline in close proximity to a water heater?

  • TL

    Amazon sells EZ-Pour “replacement spout and vent” kits to replace warn out parts on the old style gas cans. Conveniently they also fit just fine on the new ones. The one I’m looking at on my desk contains an old style spout, cap, vent cap, and replacement vent. Buying a kit adds ~$10 to the cost of a new gas can, but after it is installed the gas can works.

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