Tell The Difference In Jerry Cans

Jerry cans are made from different materials.

A jerry can is a robust and durable container used to transport fuel safety. Gas stations often sell jerry cans so a driver can carry an emergency supply of gas in his vehicle. This civilian or general-purpose jerry can differs from military-style jerry cans and water-relief jerry cans, which are used to carry water. The differences between these types of jerry cans are easy to identify. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Determine the jerry can’s volume. A civilian model has at least a 1-gallon capacity, although larger cans are available. A military-style model can be up to 5 gallons. Emergency water-carrying jerry cans hold about 1/2 gallon.

2. Identify the material that the jerry can is manufactured from. Emergency-relief cans are made from a lightweight, foldable plastic; general-purpose cans are made from thicker, colored, less malleable material. Military jerry cans are heavy and often made from steel.

3. Differentiate between jerry cans by looking at the color of the plastic. As the California Environmental Protection Agency outlines, yellow denotes cans used for diesel, red is used for gasoline and blue is for kerosene.

4. Use the shape of the can to determine different types. Military jerry cans are large, cuboid shapes for efficient storage. General-purpose cans are a box shape ideal for storage in a car trunk. However, be aware larger civilian cans are similar to military cans. A military can often has three handles to enable somebody to carry multiple cans. Jerry cans used for water are also box shaped, but can be folded when not in use.

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5. Tell the difference in styles by looking at the nozzle. The nozzle and spout are used for pouring the fuel out of the can. Emergency-relief cans do not have one of these; they simply have a screw top or plastic tap. Military jerry cans have long, thick removable spouts that screw onto threading. The can has a cap to attach the spout to. The can’s style will affect the nozzle type; some are flexible, others are curved or straight.