An unthinking motorist or attendant may neglect to remove the nozzle after completion of the fueling operation. The motorist gets in his car and starts to drive out of the station. If the nozzle remains hooked in the fill pipe of the car’s tank, the car can exert enough force to pull the gasoline dispenser off the pump island.
At a minimum, this can result in expensive repairs to the dispenser and hose assembly. At worst, if the impact valve beneath the dispenser fails to operate properly, the result can be a serious fire, as gasoline spews, under pressure, from the dispenser piping.
Breakaway connectors were developed to overcome this problem. The connector is installed on the hose, between the nozzle and dispenser. (If the hose is suspended from a hose retriever on a supporting cable, the connector is installed between the nozzle and the cable hose clamp.) When a predetermined amount of pressure (usually 250 pounds) is applied to the hose, the two parts of the connector separate. Instantly, a valve closes in each of the two now-separate parts of the connector. This closing action prevents fuel from flowing out of either of the parted sections of the hose. In addition, the separation of the breakaway connector prevents the motorist from pulling the dispenser off the pump island.
Breakaways are required by some codes.