How-To: Fill Up Your Car With Gasoline

Since the early 1900s, people across the country have enjoyed using various modes of transportation to get to point-to-point across the nation. One of these methods that is still in existence today is the automobile. However, like any other vehicle used for transportation, people need to fill up their automobiles with gasoline in order for them to function properly. A common problem, however, is that only so many people truly know how to fill up their cars correctly. Only a handful of drivers know how to take the necessary precautions and use the appropriate pumping procedure when they get to the pump to fill up. For these people, many of them opt for the “full serve” option, where they can receive a full tank of gas from a Russian immigrant who will charge an extra few cents per gallon for labor, severely increasing the price of fuel spent by the consumer. As a result, filling the tank by yourself (self-serve) is an option that people should definitely start to consider.

Before one can begin to fill their vehicle up with one of the many different types of gasoline currently available on the market, they must carefully choose and select the appropriate quality of fuel, or “grade,” that their car requires. Usually, this information is readily available in a vehicle’s owner’s manual, but in the case that it is not, the next appropriate action to take would be to contact the nearest dealer of the same company in which the car was manufactured to ensure the quality of a safe, smooth ride in their car.

Table 1.1 below shows some of the most popular types of gasoline provided at most gas stations nationwide. Note that additional types of gasoline may also be required by your vehicle that is not listed in Table 1.1.


Octane Rating







Table 1.1

Upon selecting the appropriate type of gasoline required by their car, the next step would be to hop in the driver’s seat and proceed to the gas station. Prior to pulling up at the pump, one should take note of the side of their car that their gas cap is on. This is important because the side of your car that has the gas cap on it must be closed to the pump, as well as parallel in order to ensure the success of a simple and fast pumping procedure. Note that most American cars have gas caps on the driver’s side of the car while some foreign cars have their gas caps on the passenger’s side.

Once you’re parked next to the pump with your gas cap parallel to the nozzle, you should note the pump number usually displayed on the pump itself or directly above it. If you’re paying by cash, this number is extremely important. Upon noting this number, it is now safe to turn off the vehicle and get out of your car.

Below are two methods as to how one can go about purchasing the gasoline required for their car. Note that paying by credit/debit requires a credit/debit card, while paying by cash requires numerous Jacksons or a shiny, new 50-dollar-bill.

Method 1: Paying by Credit/Debit

If you’ve decided to pay for your gasoline with a credit or debit card, be warned: identity thieves are biggest thieves of the 21st Century. Be aware of their existence and if anyone seems suspicious to you and is watching you enter any valuable information into the pump, alert the attendant and leave immediately.

Once you’ve checked your surroundings, remove your credit or debit card from your wallet and run your hand over the card reader in the pump. If the card reader has any wires surrounding it or feels like there’s something inside of it or beneath it, then you should  also alert the attendant. This means that there is a card skimmer inside the pump. If not, dip your card into the reader and follow the onscreen instructions. Note that some pumps require your billing zip code for your card. This zip code would be the code that is registered to the card and not necessarily where you live.

Method 2: Paying by Cash

If you’re paying by cash, the next step will be to proceed towards the attendant. Usually, the attendant is in a building next to a garage or other facility. When you get to the attendant, be sure to tell him what type of fuel you’re looking for and what amount you’re willing to purchase. Note that this is important because the attendant needs to grant you access to the pump. Finally, make your way back to your vehicle.

After you’ve paid for your gas, it’s safe to begin preparing the pump for the pumping procedure. Unlock your gas cap on the side of your card which should be carefully aligned with the nozzle when you first parked, and lift the nozzle up from the pump. The nozzle usually sits on some sort of metal or plastic “hook” that turns on the pump. This hook is a safety feature designed to cut off the pump from initiating the pumping procedure. Make sure this hook is switched up to the “on” position.

Once the pump has been turned on, it is now safe to begin pumping. Place the nozzle in the gas cap and squeeze the trigger to begin the procedure. Note that you will have to hold the trigger throughout the entire process and that the nozzle will stop transmitting gasoline upon reaching maximum capacity of the tank.

After a few minutes, the pumping procedure should be complete and it is now safe to turn the hook to “off” and the nozzle can be placed back in the pump. Be sure to place the gas cap back on the car and lock the compartment. Once you’ve finished, you are now safe to drive away and enjoy a fun, fulfilling drive with a full tank of gas.

Copyright © 2011 – Connor Levens

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