USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #04-0265 ([Mr. Peter B. O"Connell])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Peter B. O"Connell

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Feb 17, 2005


Mr. Peter B. O’Connell                Reference No. 04-0265
Attorney At Law
130 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12210

Dear Mr. O’Connell:

This responds to your letter to Mr. James Simmons, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), regarding the Material of Trade (MOTS) exceptions under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 Parts 171-180) as they apply to towing companies providing roadside services to motorists. Your letter was referred to this office for response.

You said that many towing companies (particularly those that participate in motor clubs) provide roadside services to motorists. As part of these services, towing companies are often required to transport gasoline in containers of less than 8 gallons for the purpose of refueling their customers’ vehicles. The gasoline may be transported by tow trucks of over 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or by service vehicles (i.e., pickup trucks, vans, SUVs) of less than 10,000 pounds GVWR. The gasoline may either be sold or given to the customer as part of a service contract. Assuming that the operators of the transport vehicles are aware of the presence of a hazardous material and that the gasoline containers are properly secured, you asked questions as follows:

Q1.      Does gasoline that is transported in a commercial vehicle for the purpose of refueling a customer’s vehicle qualify as MOTS?

Al.        Yes. in accordance with § 171.8, a material of trade is a hazardous material carried on a motor vehicle by a private motor carrier in direct support of a principal business that is other than transportation by motor vehicle.

Q2.      Does a fuel can that meets the requirements of ASTM F852-99 satisfy the packaging requirements in §173.6?

A2.      Shippers must package gasoline shipped under the MOTS exception in packagings that conform to either the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) requirements in 29 CFR § 910. 106(d)(2) or
            1926.152(a)(1), or to the requirements of the HMR (See §173.6(b)(4)). Neither the OSHA standards nor the HMR reference ASTM F852-99.

Q3.      As an alternative to question 2, is there a list of fuel cans that have been approved by the FMCSA and/or OSHA?


A3.      Under the HMR, non-bulk packagings authorized for the transportation of gasoline are specified in §173.202. Packagings authorized for limited quantity shipments of gasoline are specified in § 173.150(b). Questions concerning packagings authorized under the OSHA standards should be directed to OSHA.

Q4.      Is the driver of a vehicle that is transporting gasoline in intrastate commerce under the MOTS exception required to carry a medical card if the transport vehicle is over 10,000 pounds GVWR or under 10,000 pounds GVWR?

A4.      The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency responsible for compliance with regulations governing qualifications for commercial drivers. The driver qualification requirements in 49 CFR Part 391 does not apply to intrastate commerce; note, however, that the State in which you operate may have similar requirements. You may contact the FMCSA’s Hazardous Materials Division at (202) 366-6121 for information on this issue.

I hope this satisfies you inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us



John A. Gale
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

cc: Bill Quade, FMCSA


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.6 Materials of trade exceptions