We've all had this experience one time or another: you're late for an appointment and realize that your gas tank is running on empty, rather than taking the time to fill it up you just put enough to hold you over. For some of us this is more than just a rare occurrence, for some, this happens every time we visit the gas station.
So, are we saving more than just time when we only fill the tank part way or is it better to always fill your gas tank full each time we visit the pump?
The best way to look at this is from a pros and cons perspective. First off, what benefit are we getting from filling your gas tank full every time you go to the pumps?
Pro: Less Frequent Trips to the Gas Station
The fact is, if you fill your tank only half full every time you visit the gas station, you're going to have to make twice as many trips to the gas station then if you were to fill it up every time. That's twice as many kilometres, twice as many starts and stops and twice as much time idling waiting for the pump. Over the course of a year, this can really add up. This also means that you spend twice as much time travelling to the gas station.
Pro: Less Chance for Condensation in Your Tank
In Canada it can get pretty chilly in winter, and when temperatures are well below zero there is a chance for water condensation to form in your gas tank and fuel lines. As you run your vehicle the gas is heated up and when you turn it off it cools allowing condensation to take place. You can't stop condensation from happening completely, but if your tank is full there is far less room for this condensation to form, meaning that you will have less in your tank and fuel lines.
Con: A Full Tank Weighs More and Causes your Car to Work Harder
Some say that since a half a tank weighs less, it takes less fuel to drive around town on it. This may be true to a point, but the savings are insignificant at this level. Your gas tank, when full, accounts for less than 5% of your car's total weight (that's about 120 pounds). Reducing the weight of your car by 2.5% (by only filling your tank half full) would not have a noticeable effect on your fuel consumption.
When all is said and done, there isn't a huge difference in fuel consumption, but there are some definite pros to filling your tank. The time savings of less frequent trips to the gas station and lower chances of running out of gas are enough to sway judgement on this one alone So how does it all stack up?
True or False? You should always fill your gas tank full rather than adding $10 - $20 at a time.
The answer is True! You should definitely fill your tank when you stop to fuel up at the gas station.