9 Things You Should Never Do While Pumping Gas

no smoking sign at a gas pump

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no smoking sign at a gas pump
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Fuel Responsibly

You might think of danger in a more imminent sense, like playing tag in the middle of a busy street at night or going sky diving with someone who was certified online via a website created with Weebly. But there is actually a good amount of danger surrounding everyday tasks like pumping gas. 

Here are 9 things you should never do while you're pumping gas, and not all of them are obvious.

Stopping for Fuel

1. Sit in Your Car

Maybe it's cold outside or maybe it's a rainy day. Perhaps you've been on your feet all day and feel like sitting down. We get it: Sitting in your car while your gas pumps on autopilot is tempting. 

Resist the temptation, however, because the American Petroleum Institute (API) warns that sitting in your car while your gas is pumping could cause an explosion. That's because if you leave your car to start pumping gas, re-enter your car, and then head back to the pump another time, you could wind up with a static charge that ignites an explosion. Is anyone else looking back in horror on the last time they filled their tank from the coziness of their car, or is it just us?

Engine Start or stop button in a conventional modern car. Car instrument panel, interior dashboard control.

2. Leave the Engine Running

We're gonna go ahead and assume the general population of driving folks knows to power their vehicle off before filling it with gasoline. The danger here is that the hot engine can react with gas vapors leading to an explosion, according to the API.

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Hand refilling yellow fuel gasoline dispenser the car with fuel at the gasoline station energy crisis
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3. 'Top Off'

We are feeling the pain of prices at the pump as much as anyone, but if you see prices drop and your tank is already pretty well full, avoid topping off because doing so could result in spilled gasoline which enacts some pretty obvious dangers like explosions and fires.

Related: The Cost of Gas the Year You Were Born

child putting oil in a gas station

4. Allow Children Under the Legal Driving Age to Pump Gas For You

We're all about teaching kids responsibility, but make sure you're actually being responsible in your requests. While you might think having your 13-year-old pump gas for you is teaching them how to do it themselves one day, it's actually not recommended (and could even be illegal in some places) to let kids under the legal driving age pump gas, according to the API.

Related: 11 Things You Should Never Buy at a Gas Station (and Why)

man putting gas in plastic bags
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5. Fill Gas in Plastic Bags

Who is doing this? We want to know. There have to be people doing it, otherwise, the API wouldn't call this out as a no-no. Guys. Get yourselves a gas can. You have to dispense gasoline in appropriate containers. We don't want to see any trash bags or empty Slurpee cups over on pump 7. Get it together.

Filling fuel cans

6. Fill Gas Containers to the Brim

First things first, we're proud of you for using a proper gas container, unlike those psychos hitting the pump up with grocery sacks. Good on you. Just remember not to fill it to the very tippy-top, otherwise you might spill some gasoline and send yourself up in flames (that's worst case scenario, but stranger things have happened). 

Related: 21 Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage

grey car at gas station being filled with fuel

7. Leave Your Vehicle Unattended

Time is money. Time is precious. Time is fleeting. Blah blah blah. Do not put pull that nifty little lever on the handle of the gas pump and run into the gas station to grab an energy drink and a couple lotto tickets. Your time is not so irreparable that it's worth a potential explosion. 

Also, you might want to skip playing the lottery while you're at it.

Young woman using mobile phone while refueling her car at gas station

8. Use Your Phone

The jury is out on this. You might have heard that being on your phone while you're pumping gas is dangerous because of electrical charges and blah blah blah. It's a myth. But that doesn't necessarily remove all danger from being on your phone while you're at the pump. The real risk comes from the distraction, which could land you in Spill City, and you know what can happen in Spill City (because we've told you at least twice now). 

Related: How Gas Stations Have Totally Transformed Over the Past Century

People characters smoking on gas station. Stop smoking banner design element vector illustration concept
Irina Griskova/istockphoto

9. Smoke

We're really hoping this one is another no brainer. If you have a hankering for a smoke, please for the love of all things good and right in this world, wait until you depart the gas station to light up, and you should probably even wash your hands first in case there is any residual gas on them.