Gas Saving Tips

Gas prices have been in the news lately. I just read an article that says gas might go up to $3.75 a gallon in the coming weeks and remembered that I had received this email a while back about how to save money at the pump. Some of these I am sure you have heard before, but a lot of them were new to me.

I don’t know what you guys are paying for gasoline…. but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon..


Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in San Jose , CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.

Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up–most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.



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  1. This is rubbish.

    If anything it’s better to keep your tank less than half full since a full tank of gas could weigh about 100 lbs and you always want to reduce your vehicle weight. Remove your van seats or at least one if you don’t need it. Clear out your trunk. Keep your trunk bed empty.

    Slow down well in advance of a red light like 2, 3 or 4 blocks or more. Brake EARLY so that you will arrive to a green light. The most important factor is keeping your minimum speed close to your cruising speed. Stay back from the car in front of you. If a car in front of you turns on it’s turn signal IMMEDIATELY brake to get some distance to keep your minimum speed UP. If you ride their tail you have to match their minimum speed exactly.

    Keep your tires at their maximum allowable pressure. The pressures posted in the door or glove box are designed for a showroom ride to get the sale. Every day after the car is sold that info is obsolete. Recheck when weather gets warmer or colder. Pressure has a linear relationship to the temp. in Kelvin plus tires/valves tend to leak over time.

    Slow down a bit. Rolling resistance increases linearly with speed but air resistance increases to the square of the speed. Twice the speed = 4 times the air resistance. SUV drivers slow down a bit more than the average driver. A couple miles per gallon savings in a SUV can save gas comparable to getting 500 mpg in a Civic. Do the math!


  2. Thx for the tips, if anyone else has any, we would all appreciate it if you posted them!

    I understand you weight argument, but gasoline does evaporate really fast. It might not be worth it to drive on an empty tank as the weight reduction would result in less than 1mpg. Further testing would need to be done to figure out which is better.

  3. As a college student, these great tips. Daily commute is bad enough as is and I cry everytime I empty my wallet just to feed my car. I need money to feed myself!

  4. Don’t make me laugh people – In the UK fuel is at $12 per gallon so although the US of A is the largest single consumer of fuel and resources in the world, I would say that you guys in the states have it pretty easy.

  5. I might have to try some of these out. Might not save a lot, but could help a little.

  6. “All hoses have vapor returns” I have never used one ever!


  7. Uh, I’ll write a paragraph if I want to. I’ll write a whole fuckin book if I want to.

    I know what I’m talking about. Going from 12 to 16 MPG with an SUV will save you more fuel than going from 50 mpg up to 500 mpg in a Civic. Do the math.

    Uh, I’ll write a paragraph if I want to. I’ll write a whole fuckin book if I want to.

    I know what I’m talking about. Going from 12 to 16 MPG with an SUV will save you more fuel than going from 50 mpg up to 500 mpg in a Civic. Do the math.

    Uh, I’ll write a paragraph if I want to. I’ll write a whole fuckin book if I want to.

    I know what I’m talking about. Going from 12 to 16 MPG with an SUV will save you more fuel than going from 50 mpg up to 500 mpg in a Civic. Do the math.

    Uh, I’ll write a paragraph if I want to. I’ll write a whole fuckin book if I want to.

    I know what I’m talking about. Going from 12 to 16 MPG with an SUV will save you more fuel than going from 50 mpg up to 500 mpg in a Civic. Do the math.

  8. um Dale Kaup hater hater, dont make me delete ur post, cause I will do it. I think both of u should just take a deep breath and calm down!

  9. As an instrumentation technician, I can attest that fuel pumps are calibrated to calculate the volume flowed using the baseline temperature of -15 degrees Celsius. So, really, unless the ambient temperature of the fuel in the ground is less than that, fueling in the morning is futile.

    Here’s the other part of that problem – buried tanks are like underground houses. They are insulated by the bulk of earth around them and stay at a pretty constant temperature. In the time that it takes the fuel to flow from the holding tank to your vehicle, it just isn’t going to cool that much from outside influences.

    The rest of the tips really aren’t going to make a difference either. Saving money on gas, is like saving money period. Just don’t use as much. Keep you vehicle tuned up, tires inflated, less junk in the trunk, and walk or bike once in awhile.

  10. The price of energy, in particular fossil fuel, is historically high and seems set to increase. Fuel bills – whether for the home or for the car – take up an ever-increasing proportion of people’s budgets.

  11. What does “working in petroleum for 31 years” mean and why would this be more credible than someone buying gas for 31 years. Those tips remind me of urban legends.

    As pointed out, the tanks are well insulated underground so the ambient temp does not affect them. Sure, everything is more dense when colder. I’d question if the expansion ratio is significant, or not.

    Vapors. Pumping speed does not change how much gas turns into vapors. This has to do with surface area. There’s a term for this which I can’t recall, but it’s a lot like relative humidity. Close to the surface, the air is saturated with vapor and gas (or any fluid) does not want to evaporate any further. As you move away, the saturation begins to lean out and there’s a tendancy for vapors to want to distribute evenly between the higher and lower saturated regions. I would think that pumping slower would allow more time for fumes to form…

    Fill when half empty because gas evaporates faster. Again, surface area hasn’t changed, but there is more air to absorb the fumes. Keep in mind that this is a closed system so these fumes are going nowhere. The counter point is just as valid, drop the extra weight by off loading non essential cargo, and fill the tank less. This will affect the rolling resistance, but then you also will be stopping more often, perhaps with short diversions from your route to refuel.

    Dirt? Sorry, every pump has filters. There’s very little dirt in the tanks, and even a smaller percent could get sucked up will be filtered before going through the pump mechanisms and into your tank.

  12. All my previous arguments are valid and provable.

    As for evaporation: Yes gasoline is volatile in both senses. It does evaporate quickly but it’s all captured for reuse in your engine in a charcoal canister under the hood. You also have to consider that gasoline vapor can become so thick that no more gas can evaporate and even if it did it’s in the freaking tank and you haven’t lost anything.

    There is not one valid tip among these that I can see.. Are any of them provable?

  13. Purchase a set of low rolling resistance tires. This latest set is dinging my mileage and I’m not happy.

    Also only drive down hill and with the wind.


  14. Nice post, Lets save the earth!

  15. Nice blog post. I have one more saving tip for you guys: Do try to combine trips. If you live outside of town, try to go into town only once and get everything you need done. In that way you’d be able to save your gas as well as your effort and time.

  16. Finally we are starting to see more and more good safe small cars. You’d think the trend away from small cars would be even stronger with $4 or even $5 gas looming.