emotional businessman counting money with gasoline refueling car

15 Obvious Mistakes Making When Pumping Gas

Pumping gas seems like a straightforward task, but many drivers unknowingly make mistakes that can be costly or even dangerous. From simple errors to overlooked safety precautions, here are 15 wild mistakes you might be making when refueling your vehicle.

Using Your Cell Phone

A telephone and purse lie on an elbow-rest in the salon of car
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Pumping gas while using your cell phone poses a fire hazard due to static electricity. Even a small spark from your phone could ignite gasoline vapors, leading to a potentially dangerous situation. Keep your phone in your pocket or car while refueling.

Topping Off the Tank

Refuel cars at the fuel pump. The driver hands, refuel and pump the car's gasoline with fuel at the petrol station. Car refueling at a gas station Gas station
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Continuously pumping gas after the nozzle clicks off can lead to overfilling the tank and causing fuel to spill. Overfilling can damage the vehicle’s evaporative emissions system and increase the risk of environmental contamination.

Leaving the Engine Running

exhaust system
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Leaving your engine running while pumping gas is not only wasteful but also poses a fire hazard. Turn off the engine and remove the keys from the ignition to prevent accidental ignition of fuel vapors.


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Smoking while pumping gas is extremely dangerous and could result in a fire or explosion. Always extinguish cigarettes or any other smoking materials before approaching the gas pump.

Filling Up During a Thunderstorm

Lightning bolt in night sky
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Refueling your vehicle during a thunderstorm increases the risk of lightning strikes, which could ignite gasoline vapors. If possible, wait until the storm passes before pumping gas.

Using the Wrong Fuel Grade

Gas pump at an American gas station with a black nozzle and colorful fuel option buttons oil petrol gasoline
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Using the wrong fuel grade for your vehicle can negatively impact performance and fuel efficiency. Consult your owner’s manual or the fuel door for the recommended fuel type.

Not Securing the Gas Cap

Exterior of car with fuel filler door open.
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Failing to properly tighten or replace the gas cap can lead to fuel evaporation and trigger the check engine light. Make sure the gas cap is securely fastened after refueling.

Ignoring Warning Signs

Woman Covering Her Nose From Bad Smell Inside The Car
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If you notice unusual smells, sounds, or leaks while pumping gas, stop immediately and notify the gas station attendant. Ignoring warning signs could lead to serious safety hazards or vehicle damage.

Using Open Flames

Hand holding burning gas lighters on dark background, Portable device used to create a flame, Close up
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Using open flames, such as matches or lighters, near gas pumps is strictly prohibited due to the risk of fire. Keep all ignition sources away from the fueling area.

Overlooking Static Electricity

attractive elegant woman in black dress refuel car on gas station
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Static electricity can build up when you exit your vehicle, potentially causing sparks that ignite gasoline vapors. To discharge static electricity, touch a metal part of your car before grabbing the gas pump nozzle.

Pumping While Sitting in the Car

portrait of a stylish, luxurious woman in a leather coat sitting in a black car at night in the passenger seat, thoughtfully looking at her phone during the trip, holding her hand near her face
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Remaining seated in your vehicle while pumping gas prevents you from properly monitoring the refueling process and responding quickly to any emergencies. Exit your vehicle and stand next to the pump while refueling.

Using Gasoline Additives Without Research

Male employee is adding diesel fuel additive to diesel tank. Increase combustion effciency.
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Using gasoline additives without researching their compatibility with your vehicle can cause engine damage or void warranties. Consult your owner’s manual or a qualified mechanic before using any additives.

Pumping with Plastic Containers

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Pumping gas into unauthorized containers, such as plastic bottles or jerry cans, is unsafe and could result in spills or leaks. Only use approved fuel containers designed for transporting gasoline.

Ignoring No Smoking Signs

No smoking, prohibited signs in gas stations Public space, road, sidewalk, segment, clip
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Ignoring no smoking signs at gas stations is not only illegal but also puts yourself and others at risk. Always adhere to posted safety guidelines and regulations.

Pumping Gasoline into Diesel Vehicles (and Vice Versa)

emotional businessman counting money with gasoline refueling car
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Accidentally pumping gasoline into a diesel vehicle (or diesel into a gasoline vehicle) can cause severe engine damage and costly repairs. Pay close attention to fuel pump labels and nozzle sizes to avoid misfueling.

Author: Madison Cates

Title: Managing Editor


Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing editor

  • Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
  • Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
  • Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.

Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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