No, I’m not blowing up the gas station

And you thought that academics were incapable of common sense? I’d level that charge at some oil companies instead.

The Sydney Morning Herald offers this:

Adam Burgess, a sociology lecturer at the University of Kent, . . . delivered a paper, Risk, Rumour and Precaution: The Story of Cell Phones Causing Gas Station Explosions to the British Sociological Association conference in York, England….

[T]he consensus among academics is that the odds of a mobile phone battery igniting petrol vapours is “so remote that any restriction on their usage (is) effectively groundless”.

The reason it’s supposed to be dangerous is because of static electricity–at least according to the notices I’ve seen at Chevron stations. But “[s]liding across a car seat can generate such electricity.”

Dr. Burgess advises grounding oneself by touching the body of the car before returning to the vicinity of the fuel tank.

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