Who Knew Pumping Gas Could be So Complicated?!

I’ll be the first to admit when I buy gas at a station, I like to fill it up to the top. I read several articles online and the consensus seems to be this: topping off is not the way to go. It does several bad things, and the most important one in my book of hurting the environment. If gas spills onto the ground, the harm comes from vapors releasing into the air. Most people agree it isn’t good to inhale gasoline directly or indirectly. When is the last time you huffed gasoline? Hopefully, never. It also may damage your car’s vapor recovery system. One of the perks of living in California is the smog test especially when your car is an older model such as mine. People operate better breathing clean air so I will have to forgo topping off from now on so I don’t contribute to the Earth’s demise.


There is also debate on what constitutes topping off. I would say it means continuing to pump gas when it automatically disconnects and stops dispensing gas into your tank. Sure, I often give another go so it can read an odd number on how many dollars I spend. I’m not fond of even numbers. Don’t ask me why. I really don’t know. It’s just the way I operate. Call it superstition. So how does a person really know the pump is dispensing gas or not?  I learned gas pumps have a vapor recovery system, meaning that excess gas can end up being drawn back into the storage tanks. I can’t say for sure if this is true, but do know when I pump another 50 cents or one dollar that gas does drip out of the nozzle when removing it. I do the familiar shaking of it to get the last drop, and put it back into its resting place on its holder. Because I am not confident I’m getting all my money’s worth now, I will have to forgo topping off so I don’t lose out on that 50 cents or one dollar.  That’s a lot of gumballs I could buy.


The last consequence of topping off is the possibility of damaging your car. This happens because gas in the carbon filter system causes it to run poorly. Don’t ask me where this is because I have no idea nor do I care too much where it sits under the hood. I’m sure that I will care if something happens to my car because of too much topping off.  It overall can damage your car engine, and we all know that’s no good.  My time effective self thinks by putting in extra gas will prevent me from having to go the gas station as often. Really? How much does a dollar’s worth of gas get you these days? I equally play with fire on a near empty tank, praying and hoping my car doesn’t run out of gas on my way home on a Friday night after work. That gas light sure is an eyesore as you are winding down a road.  I wonder if that damages your car too.


I dislike filling up my gas tank and leaving to find the needle not on the full line.  I read a few people saying putting a nickel more of gas into your tank doesn’t hurt anything. How about 50 cents? How about a dollar? I don’t put in any more than a dollar. I’m curious to what others do with their gas tanks. What drives me to the ultimate decision of not topping off the next time I get gas is as much environmental as personal.  My carpal tunnel is thanking me already.  I’m so excited to not spend that extra one dollar on my next visit to the gas station.



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