Fill 'er Up! – Testing Protocol
With three categories of products to evaluate, we had a lot of work to do. We first compared the traditional jerry jug to newer jugs with additional spill and pollution prevention features. In a separate category we called “Pumps”, we assessed portable fueling containers that included integrated siphons or gravity pumps designed to help ease the transfer of fuel and relieve the stress on your back. Finally, we evaluated a few larger, wheeled devices called gas caddies that can make the transport of larger quantities (14 - 29 gallons) easier.
We searched boating stores, auto parts vendors, specialty shops and the Internet to gather our test products and ended up with seven jerry jugs, two pumps, and three gas caddies. Five of the jerry jugs were CARB compliant and two were the traditional non-CARB design. One of these non-CARB jugs served as our control in flow rate tests - it had a separate vent and had no cut-off devices to restrict or regulate flow.
We anticipated spills so we used only water, not fuel, for all of our flow-rate testing. For our first round of testing, we constructed a mock-up of a boat’s fuel fill and recorded the length of time it took to empty the entire contents of each jug, and then measured the flow for one minute of pouring For the next round of tests we used our 22’ center console power boat with horizontally mounted deck fill on the gunwale. After disconnecting the fuel line and capping it off to avoid getting water in our fuel tank, we again measured the total fill time and one-minute flow rates. This first round of testing on the boat took place on dry land with the boat on a trailer.
To add another realistic variable to our testing, we conducted our second round of testing at a marina, filling both from the fixed dock and from inside the boat as it rocked with the passing waves. This also provided us with a realistic scenario for lifting a full jerry jug from the dock and over the gunwale to a passenger in the boat. By the end of the day, we were all sore from repeatedly hoisting jugs that weighed over 30 pounds. But we learned a great deal about the pouring characteristics of each product and how the design affects the likelihood of spills.