Gasoline Etiquette, Fueling, and Avoiding Contaminated Gas to Save Money

Do you have a friend or relative who keeps an unkempt or dirty household? Perhaps they don’t clean up as rigorously as they should. Maybe they don’t pick clothing up off of the floor or mow their lawn. Or, they leave dirty dishes in the sink for days. Would you visit such a person regularly? Or, accept an invite for dinner?

It is not about being sanctimonious. You can’t control other people’s actions, only your own—if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and so on. You can apply the analogy of a dirty house to dirty looking, unkempt, and shady looking gas stations. How many gas stations have you pulled into that fit such descriptions?

Contaminated Gas Can Cost You

Although it is not as common an occurrence as you might think, there are shady gas stations that sell old and/or contaminated gas. Either through malicious intent or proprietary incompetence. Gasoline that is contaminated with water, sediment, or impurities can cause massive damage to your gas tank, fuel pump, engine, and other parts of your car. Water contaminated fuel can rust your engine and car from the inside out.

The internal combustion engine operates by a piston compressing a mix of air and fuel vapor which is then ignited by a spark plug. These motions create controlled explosions which powers your engine that energetically propels your vehicle. Clean fuel is required for this process to occur efficiently. Dirty, impure, and water contaminated fuel vapors do not combust properly.

Contaminated fuel can cause pre-explosions before nominal combustion, which is also called, “knocking.” There are many gas station tips you can heed to prevent contaminating your car with dirty, impure, or water contaminated fuel. Or, the wrong fuel.

Don’t Pump Diesel Into a Gasoline Calibrated Vehicle

Refer to your owner’s manual. Every engine in every vehicle is explicitly calibrated to compress a particular kind of fuel mixture. You should avoid accidentally pumping diesel fuel into a regular unleaded or premium gasoline calibrated engine. An engine that is calibrated for gasoline fuel vapor compression is not powerful enough to compress diesel.

Diesel fuel is relatively heavier and oilier. Gasoline fuel injectors are calibrated to spray gasoline vapors, not diesel. You will cause limitless amounts of damage pumping diesel into a gasoline calibrated vehicle. Don’t let absentmindedness be the reason for destroying your engine.

Only Buy Fuel From Reputable Gas Stations

You should patronize a gas station in the same way that you patronize a bar. Get to know them. Experience tells you everything. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have pump filters to filter gasoline delivered by tankers. Some gas stations don’t. Some stations purposefully water down their fuel or mix if with cheaper fuel, to make it last and maximize profits.

Some gas stations buy very old fuel, fuel that may have been in storage for months or years. Such fuel may be water contaminated or impurity rich. That is why it may be so cheap. Others may mix a high ratio of regular unleaded with a smaller ratio of premium in a proprietary blend that they may then advertise as premium. If the gas station owner or attendant won’t answer a straight question, patronize another gas station.

Also, stay away from dollar store and super budget gas stations. Such gasoline is super cheap for a reason, and it isn’t to save you money. You get what you pay for.

Come Back Another Day If You See a Tanker Fill Up

If you see a tanker delivering gasoline to your local station, wait a day to fill up. Or, find another gas station. There are underground tanks under the station that need regular refilling. Those tanks retain the dirt and impurities from years of countless refills. Tanker refills can stir up and whip around the sediment that has settled at the bottom of the tank. Wait a day for these impurities to settle at the bottom of the tank again.

Ignorance is Expensive

The cost of draining the contaminated fuel from an engine, and other related repairs, can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $17,000. Meanwhile, the average cost of gasoline is about $2.78 a gallon. Know what you are pumping into your car and only patronize gas stations that you can trust.

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