What happened to Ground Straps seen dragging beneath fuel trucks years ago?

Are tires now made with an electrically conductive material?

Or was road surface friction from the ground straps producing more of an electrical charge?

Thank you.

I guess someone figured out that taking your faraday cage that was protecting you and grounding it was a bad idea.

I still see some …BUT… every one of those has a Lincoln arc welder in the bed.

“Are tires now made with an electrically conductive material?”

In a roundabout way I guess. Tires in years past, both bias belted and radial, were composed primarily of nylon cords. They actually generated static electricity as the tires turned on the pavement and I guess that’s why static straps were used so much. I used to get zapped by vehicles by just grabbing a door handle back in the 70’s. Now…it never happens.

I still see cars – at least – with straps attached, purposely dragging on the ground. I presume the owner’s think that help prevent shocks when getting in and out of the car. Years ago I’d see a semi tanker-type truck, one that carried gasoline or natural gas, often there’d be a chain or cable dragging along the ground behind. I don’t recall the last time I saw that. Definitely seems less common these days.

Yeah I liked to see the tanker trucks dragging the chain that was sparking on the road. It really was fun to watch at night if you kept a little distance from them and the tank wasn’t leaking.

Tires still use the same materials, and faraday cages need to be grounded to discharge and properly protect you.

However, seat materials in the cars (and in your pants) have changed considerably. Synthetic fibers used years ago tended to generate static charges… especially when sliding into one in a polyester leisure suit. Sort of like rubbing a balloon on your hair.

However, those of us that shop at Goodwill may still have static, especially if we live in a dry climate. The best solution is a leather seat cover. You won’t get shocked if you don’t generate the charge.

Urban legends die hard…The tankwagons with the chain dragging, someone FINALLY figured out THAT did NOTHING…Some fuel delivery companies still connect a ground strap between the truck body and the filler-pipe connection before they connect the hose…This is ALWAYS done when refueling aircraft…

Caddyman its always a good idea to ground fuel dispensers,they can build a pretty healthy charge and we know what a spark can do to gasoline.

Any fuel deliveryman caught not grounding the truck body is likely to be unemployed. I feel safe in suggesting that there are probably standards requiring it. If anyone were interested, the fire department could probably direct them to the requirements.

Now excuse me please. I’m going out tonight and I have to go put on my polyester leisure suit… {:slight_smile:

In the winter, I always make sure I discharge any static when I slide out of the car at the door handle not the gas pump. I always thought about how you ground a plastic gas can though but I still keep the nozzle against the can even though it doesn’t do anything. Makes me feel better is all.

My dad was an engineer and did a lot of quality control work. Even 30 yrs ago he used to tell me that those chains serve no purpose. The car is grounded anyway.

What has happened is that the tire manufacturers have figured out a way to prevent the static charge from building up on tires where that was a problem. IOW, they fixed the problem so the straps were unnecessary.

Maybe @CapriRacer can corroborate or deny this urban myth, I remember reading about “high mileage” tires being fitted to Honda Accords (I think that was the model) shocking the devil out of toll takers in New York state. The tires substituted silicates for some of the carbon black to reduce rolling resistance. Carbon being able to conduct the static charge to ground while silicates insulated the charge. Static charge built up on the Accords until the toll takers accepted the fee, back when the still did that, and got zapped - hard! Complaints followed as you can imagine. The solution being so swap back in a bit more carbon black into the rubber compound.


I don’t know specific instances, but the principal you related is more or less correct. It was silica replacing carbon black. One of the solutions was to have a strip of rubber with the regular amount of carbon black touching the tread surface. That way, the tire manufacturer could do whatever they wanted to the rest of the tread rubber without generating that static charge.

@Mustangman, your memory is correct. It was the Michelin MXV4 on the '94 Accord EX that was shocking people:


Glad to know the grey matter still holds the memories more or less intact…,. can’t always retrieve them immediately but Google helps!