Got gas?

I suppose this is a moot point now that everyone just pays at the pump with debit or credit, and it a relic of bygone days of cash money and gas station pump jockeys, but it still bothers me and I have to know:

My uncle and my father always told me not to let the gas pump guy jig-jig the nozzle to get the amount to a round number because the little dribbles of gas you get this way just evaporate and you get nothing for your money. Later they adjusted the advice to tell me not to do that when I am down at the old self-serve and pumping myself.

So - is this true? If there is not a full steam of gasoline coming from the nozzle do you lose some or all of the little dribbles you are paying for? To this day I never bother trying for a round number, I just stop when the nozzle shuts off the first time, but I still wonder.

Any help?

I only pay cash at the pump. It’s always cheaper than paying with plastic and there’s no chance of getting my account information skimmed. At the current surcharge rate around here, that can add up to almost ten cents a gallon if you use plastic.

I pump my own gas. Always have, except when in Oregon. If the evaporation rate where that fast you would empty your tank just that much faster. I think your uncle and your father are incorrect.

I agree. The few cents involved represents what, 1/100th of a gallon? The ease of dealing with round numbers more than makes up for the few drops of gas I may or may not have gotten.

Gasoline does not evaporate fast enough for it to make a difference in the value you get for your money. It’s negligible, maybe even immeasurable.

If the tank is overfilled and gas actually spills out of the tube, that is lost but it’s still only a penny’s worth or so. Shutoffs usually keep that from happening.

However, multiply that evaporation time millions of people and you get a significant source of pollution. That’s why in some states there are evap-recapture devices on the pump handles, and you see warnings not to “top off” after the automatic shutoff kicks in.

This is laughably false. You won’t gain anything calling them ignorant fools for believing this, but please recognize that it’s not true.

Getting to a round number won’t harm anything, although sometimes it seems near impossible to get there without going a cent or two over.

There is a reason to not add as much as possible to the tank, which could possibly harm part of the emissions system (this gets discussed every so often on the Dope – most recently within the last month).

Gas doesn’t evaporate that quickly, but they shouldn’t be doing that anyways since it bypasses the vapor recovery system built into nearly all gas nozzles.

These pumps are well calibrated. You get what you pay for. There seemed like a time when you could hold the hose up and drain a few drops extra, but current technology is designed for minimum vapor loss so when the pump is shut off, there is very little left. Hold the hose of if you wish and get a drop or two.

Another myth: Helps to use dry gas in winter. Not true. Now all the gas has 10% alcohol anyway so a 20 gallon tank already has the equivalent of two gallons of dry gas installed.

Let the pump stop automatically and then round it off if you desire. Don’t try to completely top the tank as emissions equipment can be damaged.

[quote=“Duckster, post:2, topic:572247”]

I only pay cash at the pump. It’s always cheaper than paying with plastic and there’s no chance of getting my account information skimmed. At the current surcharge rate around here, that can add up to almost ten cents a gallon if you use plastic./QUOTE]

There is a surcharge for paying with debit? How does that work? It’s just cash, but with no actual bills - why would there be a surcharge?

The price is the same here no matter how you pay, but some stations give “bonus bucks” worth 5% or the total if you pay cash (which i never do, i don’t think it is safe to carry i) or debit. Credit card mopes, however, get NO bonus bucks :slight_smile:

BTW - THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ANSWERS! I thought it made no sense either, but I knew this was the place to ask! I still won’t worry about round amounts at the pump, but it was nice to have this nagging suspicion put to bed!

The companies that issue the cards make their profit by charging the businesses that accept them a small percentage. Most businesses just eat that cost, on the principle that making it easier for the customer to spend money is better in the long run, but a few pass it on to the customer.

And it can also cause you to breathe in more gasoline fumes.

Or so I’ve been told, is this true?

Also, the agreements they sign with the credit card companies usually don’t allow retailers to charge more for using a credit card*, but that usually isn’t the case for debit cards. So they pass on the debit card processing fees because they can.

*There’s been some fudging of this lately because the credit card service fees are a percentage of the transaction, whereas the gas stations usually just mark up a certain amount per gallon. So as prices have gone up, the service charges have shot through the roof but the station’s take has stayed the same. They say the credit card amount is the real price and you get a cash “discount”, but I have a feeling this argument wouldn’t fly if Macy’s tried it.

See, this is why people shouldn’t tell their kids things that they’re not sure of. But as fathers, we are endowed with a type of genetic omniscience underwear, that, when we’re wearing it, means that we have to have an answer to everything and we have to pass on lore that we figure is true - even when we don’t really know for sure. Teachers also wear this type of underwear. For a guy like me, a father and a teacher, I’ve probably misinformed vast numbers of people in my attempt to be known as someone who knows.
(I wish I could find the Calvin & Hobbes strip that I used to show my education students. Calvin and his dad are in a car and see a sign that says “Bridge load limit - 10 tons.” Calvin asks his father how they know that. His dad says, “Well, they drive bigger and bigger trucks over it until it breaks, then they rebuild it.”) That’s so dad/teacher-like.

All the gas pumps I see have stickers on them of a debit card fee. So if you buy ten gallons of gas and the debit card fee is $1.00 per transaction, you are paying an extra ten cents a gallon for the “convenience” of plastic.

Of course, we have skimmers here. The latest ones were found inside the gas pumps so there is some collusion going on between the actual thieves and those who can access the new fangled secure pumps.