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Topping Off - not a good idea.

AudiAudi RS3 in front of storm by Mike Mkiv, used under CC BY 2.0

Many car owners top off the tank after the gas pump automatically shuts off. We all want that extra ¼ gallon to extend the range of the car, but topping off is not a good idea.

Living and working in Berkeley, we try to take good care of the environment. Topping off is definitely not an environmentally friendly practice. Here are the reasons why we recommend against topping off:

  1. There is a possibility that the extra gasoline will spill out – this is bad for 3 reasons:
  1. Breathing gasoline fumes is bad for you.
  2. Gasoline spills are bad for the environment.
  3. You are, literally, spilling money on the ground.

  1. When you top off the tank, some of the gasoline may get into the component that is only supposed to carry fumes – the carbon filter. While this will not destroy your car, it will over time cause worse emissions, lower mileage, and may necessitate repairs.

Again, it’s bad for the environment and bad for your pocketbook.

So next time you are tempted to top off – just say No.

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