Gas cans have been the focus of several very different regulatory attempts — but those aren’t what’s att work here.
Plastic gas cans became — by far — the most common style by 1980. By the mid-nineties the market was dominated by an Oklahoma-based manufacturer named Blitz.
Blitz was the target of endless litigation, generally focused on injuries caused by ID10T operations. At the same time, various environmental authorities, most notable being CARB, a California bureaucracy. The environmental concerns revolved over fumes released during the filling process.
Due to these actions, there were no “legal” metal cans made. At the same time, OSHA and other safety regulations mandated the use of Type 1 or Type 2 cans — which must be metal.
Blitz constantly redesigned their plastic cans in response to both regulation and lawsuit. Their final models had huge letters molded into plastic, warning against setting yourself afire — in multiple languages. When a lawsuit found even these warnings inadequate, the firm closed it’s doors. Enough!, they said.
After a few years of a real shortage of containers, new styles began to appear. Many have some features intended to make it harder to over-fill your mower. Today a basic can might cost $10; the one I use costs $30.