Which One Should You Choose?
It’s a question that comes up time and time again:
What’s the difference between Oakley Gascan and Oakley Fuel Cell?
The short answer is easy: size.
The Gascan is smaller than the Fuel Cell.
But if you want all the nitty, gritty details, keep reading. We’ll dive deep into every subtle difference. There’s also a bit of trivia thrown in to keep it interesting.
Introduced in 2005 as a streetwear alternative for athletes, the Gascan quickly captured the hearts of Oakley enthusiasts everywhere. A testament to its popularity, the Gascan remains in production today.
Purportedly, the Gascan was originally called the “Spy Killer” — at least internally. Unconfirmed insiders say Oakley created the design with the specific intention of recapturing the attention of the surf community and recovering the profits that Spy Optics had dug into.
The irony is that it was law enforcement who fell hard for the Gascan. The association of the sunglasses with police officers caused the surf community, with their well-worn mantra of anti-establishment, to reject the very sunglasses meant to lure them back into the fold. Or so it’s been said.
The Gascan is a boxy frame, all straight lines and sharp angles. It features rectangular lenses, an (almost) flat brow bar, and straight, sweeping arms.
Imagine if you were to take a piece of paper and curve it slightly. If you looked across the plane of it, you’d see a continuous curve without any protrusions.
That’s what the front of the Gascan looks like.
Most frames have a slight bulge at the bridge. The Gascan is totally flat.
Flat front of Oakley Gascan
The logo icons are Oakley’s square O which now grace many styles of Oakleys. But in 2005, this was the first look at the design. A departure from the classic ellipse shaped “O,” Oakley customized their corporate logo just for the Gascan. Rumor has it that Jamin Jannard, son of Oakley founder Jim Jannard, designed the new logo.
Although not designed to be swapped out, the icons can be removed if you want to customize the look of your Gascans. Here’s some resources if you’d like more information on how to replace the icons on your Gascans.
A few other notables before we dive into the measurements.
These sunglasses are 100% plastic — not a spec of metal on them. The hinges are what Oakley markets as “sculpturally integrated hinge mechanisms with dual cam action.” What this means is that the hinge is part and parcel with the arm. Two nubs positioned on the top and bottom of the arm rest in holes on the inside of the front of the frame.
Oakley Gascan Hinge
Inside view of Oakley Gascan with arm removed
You can remove the arms by simply twisting them off. However, if the plastic wears down on the nubs, the arms will lose their rigidity and become loose. You could also potentially break off the nub altogether when twisting off the arm. Unfortunately, there’s not a way to tighten frames once the plastic wears down unless you choose to MacGyver the thing.
Here’s the size of the Oakley Gascan:
Oakley Gascan Dimensions
Oakley Gascan Lens Size
Oakley Fuel Cell
Often cited as sunglasses for “meatheads,” the Oakley Fuel Cell is a great option for those who love the look of Gascans but need a bigger frame to fit their bigger head. Oakley debuted the Fuel Cells in 2009 and they’re still going strong today.
Silhouette wise, the Gascans and Fuel Cells are almost indistinguishable. But where the Gascan is strict lines, the Fuel Cell breaks that stark rigidity with a little fluidity.
Curving lines running down the stems and curl around the square O icon. The wing is more streamlined than the angular design on the Gascan. There’s a stronger (though still quite subtle) dip of the brow bar and a small bulge at the bridge.
Here's the size of the Oakley Fuel Cell:
Oakley Fuel Cell Dimensions
Oakley Fuel Cell Lens Size
Aside from design aesthetic of the curves, there are two curves on the Fuel Cell that have an impact on function. The Oakley Fuel Cells arc inward more aggressively at the ends of the stems versus the more straight back approach of the Gascans. This difference allows the Fuel Cells to hug the head and seats the sunglasses more firmly on the wearer.
Oakley Fuel Cell has a more pronounced curve in the arms
The base curves of both frames are dead even at 6 (to clarify, the base curve is about the wrap of the lenses. It’s a separate conversation than the curvature of the frame arms).
What makes Fuel Cell bigger is its height. Coming in at 44 mm, it tops Gascan by 4 mm. These 4 mm in and of themselves aren’t a massive difference but combined with design tweaks, the Fuel Cell appears larger and looks more aesthetically pleasing on larger faces.
Oakley Gascan vs Oakley Fuel Cell size difference
These crucial design differences include a larger bridge on the Fuel Cell, putting 4 mm more of space between the lenses than the Gascan. Although the front of each frame is the same size, the Fuel Cell’s lenses are larger, taking up more real estate with an added 5 mm in height.
In case you were curious, you can’t swap out the arms between the Gascans and the Fuel Cells. Although the height of each arm matches up, the hinges are further apart on the Fuel Cells. The icons also are not interchangeable as the icons on the Fuel Cell are (surprise) larger than the Gascans.