What Color Container Should Diesel Be Stored In?

What Color Container Should Diesel Be Stored In?
What Color You Need to Use?

Have you ever wondered about the proper way to store diesel fuel? Maybe you’ve even asked yourself, “What color container should I use?” If so, you’ve come to the right place.

This friendly, detailed, and comprehensive guide will shed light on the importance of using the correct color container for diesel storage.

Not only will this help you stay compliant with regulations, but it will also ensure safety and efficiency in handling diesel fuel.

So, if you’re curious about the world of diesel storage and want to become an expert in no time, read on! You won’t want to miss the valuable information we’ve prepared for you.

Here’s an article about Can You Store Diesel in Plastic Containers?

Diesel fuel characteristics

A. Definition and usage

Diesel is a type of fuel derived from crude oil, specifically designed for use in diesel engines. It powers a wide range of vehicles and equipment, such as cars, trucks, buses, boats, generators, and construction machinery. Due to its high energy content and efficient combustion, diesel has become a popular choice for both commercial and personal use.

B. Chemical properties

Diesel fuel is composed of hydrocarbons that contain varying amounts of carbon, hydrogen, and trace elements. These hydrocarbons are responsible for diesel’s energy content and combustion properties. Diesel fuel also contains additives that enhance performance, such as cetane improvers, lubricity agents, and stabilizers.

C. Safety concerns

While diesel is generally considered safer than gasoline due to its higher flash point, it is still a flammable and hazardous material. In addition, diesel fuel can produce toxic fumes when burned, posing potential health risks.

Therefore, it is crucial to handle and store diesel fuel properly to avoid accidents and health hazards.

Read related article: How to Detect Contaminated Diesel Fuel? (The Early Signs)

Color-coded containers: Understanding the system

A. Color-coding purpose

Using color-coded containers for fuel storage is a practical and straightforward approach to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. The color-coding system helps differentiate between various types of fuels, preventing potential mix-ups, accidents, and damage to engines or equipment.

B. Regulations and standards

There are specific regulations and standards in place to govern the use of color-coded containers for fuel storage. These guidelines, such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ensure that the fuel storage process remains safe and efficient.

Common color codes for fuel storage

Each type of fuel has a designated color for its storage container:

  • Red: Gasoline
  • Yellow: Diesel
  • Blue: Kerosene
  • Green: Oil (such as motor oil or 2-stroke oil)

Why Yellow

Yellow can is the recommended container. This is due to a high flashpoint and lower volatility compared to gasoline, diesel fuel is considered safer to store and handle. Yellow safety cans, specifically designed for diesel storage, further contribute to this safety by providing a clearly identifiable and dedicated container for diesel fuel.

The high flashpoint of diesel means it requires a higher temperature to ignite compared to gasoline, thus reducing the risk of accidental fires.

This inherent safety feature makes diesel a popular choice for various applications, from powering vehicles and machinery to serving as a backup fuel source for generators.

Yellow safety cans, in addition to being easily identifiable, often incorporate features such as flame arresters, self-closing lids, and pressure relief vents. These design elements ensure that diesel fuel is stored safely by minimizing the risk of spills, leaks, or explosions.

Flame arresters prevent the ignition of vapors inside the can, while self-closing lids and pressure relief vents help maintain a controlled environment within the container, preventing the buildup of excessive pressure or fumes.

Yellow: The recommended color for diesel containers

A. Explanation of yellow as the standard color

Yellow is the internationally recognized color for diesel fuel containers. Using a yellow container ensures that the stored fuel is easily identifiable as diesel, reducing the risk of accidental mix-ups or contamination.

B. Benefits of using yellow containers

  • Safety: The distinct yellow color minimizes the risk of accidentally filling a gasoline-powered engine with diesel or vice versa, preventing potential damage to the engine.

  • Compliance: Using yellow containers for diesel storage ensures adherence to regulatory guidelines, avoiding potential fines or penalties.

  • Organization: Color-coding simplifies the process of managing and organizing fuel storage, especially in facilities that handle multiple fuel types.

C. Examples of yellow diesel containers

Yellow diesel containers come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different storage needs. Examples include:

  • Portable fuel cans: These small, easy-to-carry containers are perfect for personal use, such as refueling a diesel-powered generator or lawn mower.

  • Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs): IBCs are larger, stackable containers that can hold up to several hundred gallons of diesel fuel, making them suitable for commercial applications or large-scale storage.

  • Stationary storage tanks: These tanks, often found at fueling stations or in industrial settings, can store vast amounts of diesel fuel for long-term use.

Potential consequences of using incorrect container colors

A. Risks to safety and health

Using the wrong color container for diesel storage can lead to dangerous mix-ups and accidents. For example, filling a gasoline-powered engine with diesel fuel can cause severe damage to the engine and even pose a fire hazard.

Additionally, the incorrect handling or storage of diesel fuel can result in toxic fumes and environmental contamination.

B. Legal ramifications

Failing to comply with fuel storage regulations and guidelines can result in fines, penalties, and even legal liability for accidents or environmental damage. To avoid these consequences, it is essential to adhere to color-coding standards for diesel fuel containers.

C. Environmental impact

Incorrectly storing diesel fuel in non-yellow containers increases the likelihood of spills, leaks, and contamination. This can have severe consequences for the environment, including water and soil pollution, harm to wildlife, and the release of greenhouse gases.

Additional considerations for safe diesel storage

A. Proper container material

When storing diesel fuel, it is crucial to use containers made from materials that are resistant to diesel’s chemical properties. Suitable materials include high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and steel. These materials ensure the container remains durable and leak-proof, preventing spills and accidents.

B. Storage location and ventilation

Store diesel containers in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and potential ignition sources. This helps minimize the risk of fire, explosion, or the release of harmful fumes. Additionally, make sure the storage area is secure and inaccessible to unauthorized personnel, children, or pets.

C. Regular inspection and maintenance

Regularly inspect diesel containers for signs of damage, such as cracks, dents, or leaks. Replace or repair any damaged containers immediately. Also, ensure that the container’s seals, caps, and vents are functioning correctly and securely fastened to prevent spills or evaporation.

OSHA Regulation on Flammable Liquid

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations in place concerning the storage and handling of flammable liquids. These regulations aim to ensure the safety of workers and minimize the risk of fires, explosions, or other accidents related to flammable liquids.

OSHA’s regulation on flammable liquid containers can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1910.106 – Flammable Liquids. Some key points from this regulation include:

  • Classification: OSHA classifies flammable liquids into four categories (I, II, IIIA, IIIB) based on their flashpoints and boiling points.

  • Container materials: Flammable liquid containers must be made of suitable materials that can withstand the chemical properties of the stored liquid. Approved materials include metal, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and other non-reactive materials.
  • Container sizes: OSHA sets specific limits on the maximum capacity of containers used for flammable liquids. For example, the maximum capacity for a safety can (a portable container with a spring-closing lid and spout cover) is 5 gallons (18.9 L) for Class I and II liquids and 12 gallons (45.4 L) for Class III liquids.

  • Container design: Flammable liquid containers must be designed to minimize the risk of spills, leaks, and explosions. Safety cans should have features like flame arresters, self-closing lids, and pressure relief mechanisms.

  • Storage cabinets: When storing flammable liquids in cabinets, the cabinets should be designed to resist fire for at least 10 minutes, be conspicuously labeled “Flammable – Keep Fire Away,” and have self-closing and latching doors.

  • Storage rooms and areas: Flammable liquid storage rooms and areas should be well-ventilated, equipped with proper fire protection systems, and designed to contain spills or leaks.

  • Handling practices: Employers should train employees on the safe handling, storage, and disposal of flammable liquids to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.

It is essential to consult the full text of OSHA’s regulation (29 CFR 1910.106) and any applicable state or local regulations to ensure compliance with all requirements.


In conclusion, using the correct color container – yellow – for diesel storage is crucial for safety, compliance, and environmental responsibility. By following the guidelines and regulations outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your diesel storage practices are both efficient and secure.

So, the next time you’re handling diesel fuel, remember to use a yellow container and keep the information from this guide in mind. With the proper precautions and knowledge, you can confidently store and handle diesel fuel safely.

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