There have been a surprising number of recent enquiries about the filling of containers with diesel from retail service station fuel dispensers.

These enquiries appear to be attributable to industry chatter surrounding the recent revision of AS1940: The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

As most would be aware, diesel has a flash point of 63 degrees C. It is therefore classified as a combustible liquid – as opposed to a flammable liquid – under the Australian Dangerous Goods Code and related Regulations.

While AS 1940 imposes some limitations on the filling of containers at service stations with flammable liquids, it does not impose any restrictions on the dispensing of a combustible liquid (e.g. diesel) at a retail fuel outlet.

For the absence of any doubt, Clause 7.6.3 of AS1940 identifies the requirements for filling of containers with flammable liquids at service station fuel dispensers as follows:

7.6.3 Filling of containers at dispensers

Flammable liquids shall not be filled from a service station’s fuel dispenser into a container unless-

  • The capacity of the container is not greater than 25L; and
  • The container complies with AS/NZS 2906 or equivalent Standard, or is reasonably leakproof, metal, and has a tight-fitting closure; or
  • The container is an approved fuel tank for a boat.

Any container shall be on the ground whilst being filled, and not in a car boot or the back of a utility vehicle.

NOTE: Approved portable fuel tanks for boats may be filled in situ.

In summary, diesel is a combustible liquid and is therefore not subject to the restrictions that apply to flammable liquids under Clause 7.6.3 of AS 1940, for the filling of containers at fuel retail outlets.

Diesel can be dispensed into any size container, provided that normal safety precautions for dispensing combustible liquids are applied.