Auto Repair #17:
Gas Pump Tricks You Can Use to Save Money on Fuel


With today's high gas prices, we're all looking for any way we can to save money at the gas station. We're driving less. We're driving slower. We're buying cars based on fuel efficiency ratings. We're even buying hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. Gas has become one of the bigger items in all of our monthly budgets.

If you want to reduce the portion of your disposable income allocated to gasoline, we suggest you read Auto Repair #14: Top Tips to Improve Fuel Efficiency (How to Improve Your Car's Gas Mileage). In addition to those timely tips, below are some tricks you can use to give you your money's worth for every gallon of gasoline. These gas pump tricks were provided by someone who's been in the petroleum industry for more than 30 years.

Gas Pump Tip #1: Fill up your car or truck with gas in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Gas stations have their storage tanks buried below ground, and the colder the ground, the denser the gasoline. As it gets warmer, the gasoline expands, so if you buy gas in the afternoon or in the evening, the gallon you pay for is not exactly a gallon. This is because gas stations don't have temperature compensation at the gas pumps to adjust for the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel or ethanol. Every one degree change in temperature can make a big difference in your overall fuel costs.

Gas Pump Tip #2: When you're filling up your fuel tank, don't squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the fastest mode. The trigger has three settings - low, medium, and high. Use the low (slow) mode to minimize the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fastest mode, some of the liquid fuel going into your fuel tank becomes vapor. This vapor is then sucked up and back into the underground storage tank via the vapor return. You're getting less value for your money since the pump registers the dispensing of the fuel but not the vaporized fuel that comes back out of your fuel tank and returns to the underground tank.

Gas Pump Tip #3: One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is half full (or half empty depending on your orientation). The more gas you have in your tank, the less air occupying the empty space in your tank. Because gasoline evaporates (turns into vapor) very quickly, you want as little empty space available as possible to minimize evaporation. (See Tip #2 for the reason for this.)

Gas Pump Tip #4: If there's a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks at the gas station where you're thinking of stopping to pump gas, do not stop and fill up at that service station. When fuel is being pumped into the storage tanks, the gasoline in the tank is being stirred up as the new fuel is flowing into the tank. You may end up picking up some of the dirt and sediment that normally settles to the bottom of the tank.

We hope the above tricks will help you get a little more for your money at the gas pump. For statistical information and news on what's happening in the crude oil/gas industry, a good source of information is the Energy Information Administration (Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government) website.

Don't Forget:

Repair articles are added regularly.
Come back often to check for new maintenance topics.

These repair tips are designed only as a starting point.
Please seek the assistance of a professional mechanic
for all repair problems beyond your capabilities.

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