by Paul Bowers
America might face a gas-can shortage during the 2012 hurricane season, which begins June 1.
Blitz USA, the Oklahoma-based company that claims to manufacture 75 percent of consumer gas cans sold in the U.S. every year, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. Amanda Emerson, director of external affairs for Blitz, says the company has not cut back on production yet, but there could be a production shortage if the company goes under. Emerson says Blitz has struggled financially due to an influx of consumer litigation.
"We've been overwhelmed as an industry with product liability lawsuits, primarily characterized by individuals pouring gasoline on a fire and then holding gas can manufacturers liable," Emerson says. If you've bought a gas can in recent months, you've probably noticed an extra label about fire safety precautions attached to the can.
According to the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association, Americans purchase more than 15 million portable fuel containers a year, and when hurricanes make landfall, annual sales run about 30 percent higher.