I must admit, I am one of those people who tops off their gas tank. I mean, who doesn’t like to squeeze a little more in so you may avoid having to fill up one or two extra miles later. Especially with the ways gas prices are climbing, it’s not surprising to want to buy the cheaper gas now then pay the higher price gas a day later. I guess that logic doesn’t make sense…does it? Now that I’m talking out loud about it, I think I’ve been kidding myself.
I looked up some information to see if topping off my gas tank was cost effective or a bad idea. Guess what? I found out it’s a BAD idea.
Here’s what I discovered from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency):
1) Topping off your gas tank can result in you paying for gasoline that is fed back into the station’s tank because your gas tank IS full. The gas station pumps are equipped with vapor recovery systems that feed back gas vapors into their tanks to prevent the vapors from escaping into the air. This is of course is to avoid contributing to air pollution in ozone nonattainment areas. The additional gas we try to pump into the tank may be drawn into the vapor line and fed back into the station’s storage tanks. (So, actually we are paying MORE for our gas by topping off)
2) Gasoline vapors are harmful to breathe and contribute to bad ozone days. They are a source of toxic pollutant and it will evaporate from gas spillage/overfilling may occur, only contributing further to the air pollution.
3) Extra room in the gas tank is needed for the gasoline to expand. Someone should have told us this BEFORE. If we top off our tank, the extra gas may evaporate into our vehicle’s vapor collection system. This may cause it to work improperly, making our vehicle run poorly and therefore put out high gas emissions.
4) Worse yet. Topping off our gas tanks may mess up the station’s vapor recovery system. If it doesn’t function properly, it can cause the gas pump to fail to work correctly for the next user. A domino effect….
If you are also one of those who tops after the gas pump nozzle clicks off automatically, maybe we should both should re-evaluate how we fill up our tanks. I know, I’m going to stop from now on!