Gas Can Shortage Could Develop During Hurricane Season

As hurricane season approaches, there could be a shortage of gasoline cans nationwide. The country's largest gas can manufacturer is struggling to reorganize after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

Blitz USA is an Oklahoma based company that started making gas cans for the U.S. military in 1966.  

They later went commercial and made portable red gas cans famous.

Spokeswoman Amanda Emerson says they had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November, after a number of people filed lawsuits against them.

“That were characterized by individuals, typically adults, pouring gasoline on a fire or using gasoline to start a fire. And then, in turn, they hold the gas can manufacturer responsible for injuries sustained after that practice, which is an inherently dangerous practice. We warn on every gas can never to pour gas on a fire.”

Blitz USA makes about 75 percent of gas cans sold in America.  

As the company goes through reorganization, Emerson says they’re alerting state officials in hurricane zones about a potential shortage of gas cans this summer.

“Our industry records show that in a hurricane year, that is when a hurricane makes landfall or when landfall is threatened, our sales as an industry increase by about 30 percent. And in an average year we sell between 12-15 million gas cans.”

Emerson says the company may not be able to keep up with demand this summer. She says during the evacuation for Hurricane Rita, drivers were storing gasoline in coolers, gallon jugs and even open buckets when stores sold out of gas cans.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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