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3 reasons why you shouldn’t try to top off your tank at the petrol station

Posted March 4, 2019

You come to a petrol station to fill up the tank of your car and you will not leave until its fully topped up. You hear a familiar click and the pistol grip in your hand goes limp. What do you do? Of course, you squeeze the handle of the pump again. And then it clicks again. And then you squeeze it again. But why? Here are 3 reasons why you should not seek to top up your fuel tank.

You’re not saving any money

People don’t want to visit petrol stations too often. That is why they prefer topping up their tanks every time to avoid wasting time and money going to a petrol station too frequently. Also, sometimes the price is just nice and you want to use that opportunity, because soon prices might go up. However, you’re not saving any money by trying to top up your fuel tank.

You should stop filling up your car at the first “click”. Image credit: Rama via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0 fr)

First of all, fuel pumps have vapour collection systems. This means that some petrol may actually go back into the station’s underground reservoir if you’re not listening to those clicks. Secondly, you are just making your car heavier, which is a total economy killer. And finally, prices fluctuate – are you sure tomorrow petrol is not going to be cheaper?

You may break something

Many newer cars have Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) systems. They are designed to prevent fuel vapours from escaping the tank and polluting the environment. EVAP systems have activated carbon filters, which are not designed to work with liquid petrol. This means that by filling up more than the manufacturer intended you are risking ruining that filter. Replacing this carbon filter may be a costly repair, because EVAP systems can be difficult to reach. Again, you are not going to save any money by squeezing every little last drop into your tank.

You may spill your petrol

Have you seen cars that have these yellowish stains around their gas tank openings? Yup, that’s what petrol does. Of course, if you clean all your drips immediately chances of permanently staining your car or damaging the clear coat are pretty slim. But spills are still terrible.

First of all, you are making a mess in the petrol station. Petrol drips is pretty much the reason why petrol stations have to be resurfaced or pressure-washed pretty frequently. Secondly, you are polluting the environment. Rain washes spilled petrol into the rain drains and eventually it gets somewhere where it shouldn’t be. Even if it doesn’t get wet, it evaporates polluting the environment that way. Thirdly, it petrol can damage your shoes and pants. Finally, you paid for that petrol. Sure, it is not much, but how many times do you spill by trying to top off your tank?

In short, just don’t do it. Listen to that first click and walk away. You’re fine without those couple of drops of petrol and manufacturer calculated maximum capacity till that point where petrol pump can reach. It is a better way to fill up your car without major spills, ruined EVAP filters or stained leather boots.

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