Updated July 16, 2012

Topping Off Gas Tank - Is It Worth It?

Read more about Gas Rewards

Gasoline prices are making consumers across the United States sweat. Prices keep going up and peoples’ budgets can’t keep up. So, consumers are taking the matter into their own hands by finding ways they can cut down on gas costs. One way they are doing this is by getting as much as they can in their tank when they find a great price. This often leads to “topping off” the gas tank.

Topping off is when someone adds more gas to their tank once the pump automatically clicks off. People often do this to round off the amount of their sale, and, as mentioned above, to get as much as possible at the best price they’ve found. Unfortunately, what many consumers don’t realize is that topping off their tank actually costs them money and harms the environment.

Pumping Gas
Pumping Gas © www.futureatlas.com/blog

How it affects the environment

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), topping off creates unnecessary gasoline vapors. Topping off can also create overflow of gasoline from your vehicle, leading to spillage. The vapors from topping off and from the spillage are harmful to breathe and contribute to ozone problems.

The EPA also states that topping off can mess with the gas station’s vapor recovery system. Doing so can make the system shut off so it doesn’t work like it should. This also leads to additional air pollution and can create problems for the next people who pull up to that pump.

How it affects your car

The EPA also warns consumers that topping off can affect the performance of your vehicle. Your car or truck was designed to have additional room in the gas tank to allow room for the gas to expand. When you top off, you are eliminating that room for gas expansion; instead, it will evaporate into other areas of the vehicle, like the vapor collection system. This will cause the system to work improperly, leading to poor performance and higher gas emissions.

How it affects your wallet

Any spillage that results from topping off is ultimately money that you have thrown on the ground. Remember, every drop that comes out of the pump is money that comes from your wallet or is charged to your credit card!

You may also be paying for gasoline that is never distributed into your tank. This is because topping off can cause a back-up in the station’s tanks. The back-up is caused when your tank is full and there is nowhere for the gas to go.

Friendlier ways to save money

If you are looking for ways to save money at the pump, read our article titled “How to Get Better Gas Mileage.” It has money-saving tips you can employ to get the most out of every drop you put into your vehicle.

More Articles in Tips

Gas Cards

Save Money on Gas

No one likes spending money on gas. Here are 18 simple effective tips to help save money on gas (we bet you’ve never even thought of #10!)

Leave a comment about Topping Off Gas Tank - Is It Worth It?

Name (required)
Email (required; won't be published)
Website (optional)


Blue Cash Preferred Review

If you are looking to get cashback rewards on common household categories like gas and groceries, consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Amex created the Preferred card as an upgrade to the Blue Cash Everyday.
More Articles in Tips








About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.