Pumping gas correctly is second nature for those of us that have done it over and over for years. However, there are still those of us out there who have limited experience for a variety of reasons including just beginning to drive, someone else uses the car and usually pumps the gas or you had previously only driven fully electric vehicles. Regardless of the reason, you should ensure that you are using the correct technique at the gas pump in order not to waste time or to avoid putting yourself in harm’s way.
Put your car in the right position
The first thing that you need to do when you pull into the gas station is to pull your car into the correct position next to the pump in order to make pumping the gas as easy and quick as possible. This begins with knowing which side your gas tank is on. It will not always be on your driver or passenger side; it will simply depend on the specific type of vehicle that you are driving. So, if your gas tank is on the right side of your car make sure you pull the right side of your car next to the gas pump and vice versa if your gas tank is on the left side of your car.
You also want to ensure that you pull your car even with the position of the gas nozzle. The gas nozzle that dispenses regular gas (which the vast majority of you will use) will always be on the left-hand side of the pump, the right-hand side of the pump will have another nozzle which will dispense all other grades of gasoline including premium, super and diesel. Make sure that your gas tank aligns or is close to aligning with the gas nozzle that you will be using. If you do not pull forward enough or pull too far forward, there may not be enough slack in the nozzle’s gas line for you to safely reach the nozzle to your gas tank.
Pay and open your gas tank
Once you have pulled up and into the correct position near the gas pump, you will exit your car. The first thing that you will do after getting out of your car is to pay for your gas. If you are paying with a credit or debit card, you can easily pay at the pump. If you are paying with cash, you will need to walk into the main-store part of the gas station and pay the attendant. At this point, you will have to open your gas tank.
Again, what you will need to do in order to accomplish this will depend heavily on the specific type of car that you are driving. In many cases, there will be a latch or button in the cabin of your vehicle on the driver side often located near the floor. It will have either the word “gas” on it or a gas pump logo. When you find this pull it and your gas tank will open. At this point you will still need to unscrew your gas cap which should be self-explanatory. If you have difficulty with any of this, be sure to consult your car’s owner’s manual.
Choose the grade of gas and pump
As soon as you pay you will need to then select the grade of fuel that your car requires. These days, you will typically do this yourself at the pump regardless of your payment method. You will simply just select regular, premium, super or diesel based upon your car’s engine needs. Once you do that, it will take a moment for the gas pump to process your selection and then you will be ready to pump your gas.
In order to correctly pump your gas, you will need to remove the corresponding fuel nozzle from its holder on the pump. You will then place the nozzle into your gas tank and depress the handle attached to the nozzle. You can either keep your hand in this position, or you can choose to flip up the tab which is located on almost all fuel pumps. If you flip this tab up, it will hold the handle in the pushed-in position that will continue to dispense gasoline without the use of your hand.
Safety is always going to be a very important part of pumping gas. This should not come as any surprise since gasoline is so flammable and potentially dangerous. The most important things that you will have to be sure to do when you are pumping gas are to:
- Turn your car’s engine off – Your car’s engine needs to be shut off completely when you are pumping gas because it poses a fire hazard by remaining running.
- Do not smoke – It goes without saying but a cigarette or an ash or ember from a cigarette can ignite gasoline quite easily. Never smoke while you are pumping gas or even immediately after you pumped gas until you have washed your hands.
- Ground yourself and your clothing from static electricity – You will also need to ground your body and your clothing from static electricity when you are pumping gas. A static charge is unfortunately extremely easy to generate after you have been sitting in your vehicle and has ignited gasoline in the past. This can lead to an extremely dangerous situation or even an explosion. You can ground yourself by touching any metal such as your vehicle’s door with your bare hand.
However, you also need to be aware of potential scams and thievery at the gas pump. The first thing to look out for is a credit card skimmer if you are paying at the pump. A credit card skimmer is a device that will steal your credit card’s information and provide it to people who will use it to make purchases with that information. Credit card skimmers are made to look exactly the same as the gas pump’s credit card payment terminal. So, you will not be able to tell by just looking. What you can do is firmly grasp the part of the terminal where you insert your card and see if you can move it at all. If you cannot then you can proceed, if you can then move to another pump or pay cash.
Thieves have also been known to recently switch the nozzle of the gas pump from one side to the other in order to steal the gas that you are pumping on your side. This is hard for people to detect because they will see the gas pumping on the screen of the pump as they attempt to pump it, but little do they know the person on the other side of the pump is actually receiving the gas that they paid for. In order to check for this, take a look up when you are at the gas pump, you will see the fuel line connection. Ensure that the fuel line connection closest to you is connected to the nozzle that you will be using.
Pumping gas is something that becomes second nature once you have done it a few times and have the hang of it. You just have to ensure that you put your car in the correct position at the pump, you know which side of your car that your gas tank is on, how to open your gas tank & cap, how to pump gas and how to spot a potential scam. You also must also always practice safety at the gas pump. This includes shutting off your engine, not smoking and grounding yourself from electricity.