Gas sta­tion myth or fact: What you need to know when you re­fuel

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - News -

On any given day, some 40 mil­lion Amer­i­cans stop at gas sta­tions to fill their tanks. For many, it’s a weekly rou­tine, one they don’t spend much time an­a­lyz­ing, but are there things you think you know about your fill-up that just aren’t true?

An­drea Kauf­man con­sid­ers her­self a fairly con­sci­en­tious auto owner, but the St. Louis Park, Minn., res­i­dent ad­mits she doesn’t know the finer de­tails of pump­ing pro­to­col. “I’ve heard plenty of gas sta­tion tips and tricks, but I’m not al­ways sure which ones I should be­lieve.”

Let’s set the record straight as en­ergy ex­perts dis­pel three com­mon gas sta­tion myths.

Myth 1: It’s best to buy gas early in the day

The the­ory is that gaso­line is denser at cooler tem­per­a­tures, so you’ll get more fuel per gal­lon early in the morn­ing. While the ba­sic sci­ence is cor­rect, the ex­perts at Con­sumer Re­ports point out two prac­ti­cal rea­sons why this is a myth.

First, most gas sta­tions store fuel in dou­ble-walled un­der­ground tanks that keep gas at steady tem­per­a­tures. Sec­ond, even if there were vari­a­tions, the vol­ume dif­fer­ence be­tween gaso­line at 75 ver­sus 60 de­grees Fahren­heit is just 1 per­cent — not enough to be no­tice­able at the pump.

Myth 2: It’s dan­ger­ous to use a cell phone near gas pumps

Ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion, there is no doc­u­mented in­ci­dent of a wire­less phone caus­ing a gas sta­tion fire or ex­plo­sion.

It’s true that many fuel com­pa­nies post stick­ers on pumps warn­ing mo­torists to turn off phones while re­fu­el­ing as cell phones could be a dis­trac­tion. But the Petroleum Equip­ment In­sti­tute (PEI) re­ports the most likely cause of fire at the pumps is static elec­tric­ity cre­ated by driv­ers slid­ing in and out of ve­hi­cles. For safe re­fu­el­ing, PEI rec­om­mends you turn off the car en­gine, re­frain from smok­ing and stay out­side the ve­hi­cle.

Myth 3: All brands of gas are the same

Like more than two-thirds of Amer­i­cans, Kauf­man buys gas pri­mar­ily based on price and con­ve­nience. “I don’t know if there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween brands,” she said. While all gaso­line sold in the U.S. must meet fed­eral re­quire- ments for per­for­mance, not all gas is the same.

The auto in­dus­try has a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem for fuel. Top Tier cer­ti­fied gaso­line in­cludes ad­di­tional de­ter­gents and fuel ad­di­tives that re­move en­gine de­posits that can hurt fuel econ­omy.

“To­day’s more fuel-ef­fi­cient en­gines need higher-qual­ity fuel for peak per­for­mance,” said Akhtar Hus­sain, re­fined fu­els ex­pert at CHS, which markets Cenex brand fu­els at more than 1,450 gas sta­tions in 19 states. “Cenex TOP TIER De­ter­gent Gaso­line pro- vides 2.5 times the clean­ing power of con­ven­tional gaso­line and re­moves de­posits for bet­ter fuel econ­omy and re­duced emis­sions.”

So much for those tank-fill­ing myths. Now it’s time to fuel up and en­joy the drive.

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