Gas Puzzler
January 6, 2008 4:43 PM   Subscribe

OK, I know this is a little silly but it's really beginning to bug me. Is there a way to get the nozzle from a commercial gasoline dispenser out of my car without spilling a few drops of gasoline onto the car or the ground? I have tried shaking the nozzle every which way, i have tried fiddling with the hose, but nothing seems to work. Is spilling a little gas every time I fill up a law of nature, or am I missing something that everyone else knows somehow?
posted by ubiquity to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rattle it. Then turn the nozzles 180 degrees as you take the spout out. Always keep the nozzle pointed upwards.

I don't spill fuel when I fill up using that technique.

You also need to put the nozzle back in using the reverse method, of course, but that should be obvious.
posted by Brockles at 4:48 PM on January 6, 2008

After you stop pumping and it clicks off, let it sit for at least 10 seconds or so to try and drain. Then pull it out slowly, and try and tap off any last remaining drips on the inside of the tank as you pull it out, and then rotate it upwards quickly so that any remaining gas will drip back into the nozzle rather than out. And move the thing away from the car quickly. That's how I do it, and unless I rush, I never get gas on my car.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:03 PM on January 6, 2008

As long as I give it a shake and let it sit there for five or so seconds after before pulling it out, nothing drips for me. Maybe it varies from station to station though?
posted by mjgrady at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2008

Anecdote: When you spill any amount of gas on the ground, some of it evaporates. But some of the chemicals slowly precipitate right through the concrete and into the ground. Gas stations are regularly monitored for the environmental impact of the plume of petroleum-related chemicals that seeps into the ground. Many gas stations have remediation equipment (e.g. vapor extraction) right on site -- you simply may have not noticed it at your stations.

This happens at all gas stations everywhere. Every gas station leaks something.

My best friend runs an environmental engineering and clean-up firm that does exactly this kind of monitoring and remediation.

When my friend spills drops of gas on the ground (as we all have done), he says, "That's OK. I'll just clean that up later. And get paid for it."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:40 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Before you take the nozzle out, lift the hose so that the entire length of the hose is higher than the nozzle. That way, any remaining drops from the line empty out of the nozzle. Seems to work for me, although that could just be filed under the previous answer, "Shake and let sit for a couple of seconds."
posted by not_on_display at 5:56 PM on January 6, 2008

Having worked for an exotic car dealership where I had to be very certain to ensure that no gasoline dripped on the paint of new cars, I swore by turning the nozzle head as I removed it. Shaking did little, I found. Where as a smooth rotate and remove motion made the biggest difference.
posted by smitt at 7:03 PM on January 6, 2008

Mod note: a few comments removed - OH MY GOD STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR DICKS. this is a question about gasoline
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:18 PM on January 6, 2008 [11 favorites]

Paper towels -- there's always (?) a dispenser near the pumps.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:28 PM on January 6, 2008

I fill up at a Hess station that has instructions for this printed on the pumps. When the pump clicks off raise the nozzle up as far as you can without removing it at all, and count five seconds. Then lower it and slowly remove the nozzle. It works there but one thing I've noticed is it depends on whether the nozzle has holes drilled into it. At this gas station they aren't and the method works perfectly. At others it'll fail a bit if you're quick. Going slow is the key.
posted by jwells at 5:28 AM on January 7, 2008

When I had my old Vette, with the gas tank opening in the middle of the what would be the trunk on most cars, I would just use a paper towel from the gas station to keep the drips from happening.
posted by internal at 8:24 AM on January 7, 2008

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