DEAR ABBY: My father absolutely refuses to turn off the ignition when fueling his car, despite the warning signs at the pump. How can I convince him to stop endangering himself and my mother? -- WORRIED DOWN SOUTH
DEAR WORRIED: Motorists are instructed to "Stop Motor" while refueling for good reason. Gasoline is highly flammable. However, it is not actually the liquid that burns. Even at temperatures as low as 45 degrees, gasoline gives off vapor.
It is the vapors that ignite. Gasoline vapor is heavier than air, so when it ignites, it does so at ground level. All it takes to create a violent explosion is fuel vapors, enough oxygen and a source of ignition. A spark from a cigarette, a hot exhaust pipe, faulty wiring, static electricity or the vapor reaching an open flame -- all can cause gasoline vapors to explode.
Please show this item to your father. Perhaps it will convince him to be more safety conscious. If there is an attendant at the gas station your father frequents, frankly, I am shocked that the person hasn't insisted your father turn off the engine.