State: 1/3 of gas-pump clips may leak fuel

SACRAMENTO It's not a particular kind of gas station, but thousands of them have been asked by the state to remove the fuel clip because of potential danger.

Most consumers agree that the clips that hold gasoline nozzles open are convenient. Just engage it, and you can do other things while filling your tank: wash your windows, check your e-mail, or just daydream.

"I put it on and then I lean against the car, kind of look around and wait for it to be filled," said motorist Shirley Robinson. "I don't have to use my hands. I'm so lazy."

But the /*California Air Resources Board*/ is recommending 3,000 gas stations statewide with nozzles marked "VST" remove those clips while the agency works with the manufacturer.

The nozzles were recently introduced in California and may have a design flaw.

In the last couple of months, 11 fuel spills have occurred around the state because of possibly defective clips.

"Because public safety is our number one concern here, we wanted to make sure there are no further incidents," said Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board. "We want to minimize all the possible risk as much as possible."

Even minor fuel spills contribute to the formation of smog, and the state worries about flammable material on the ground.

So in one-third of the state's gas stations that use VST nozzles, consumers will have to work on their grip.

"If there is a significant danger to it and it causes some sort of harm to somebody, whether it's environment or to individuals, then I'll easily deal without the clip," said motorist Lyn Christopulos.

Old habits, though, are hard to break, especially the convenient ones.

"I think it's ridiculous that they take it off because it pops by itself whenever it gets full," said motorist Andrew Median.

The state Air Resources Board stated that sometimes as you're holding the nozzle in your hand and as you press the grade you want, gas starts coming out of the VST brand.

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