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#0835: Whose Gas is it, Anyway?

Original Air Date: 08.30.2008

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This week on Car Talk, we wade into the seldom-charted waters of gas pump etiquette. Heidi's got a nifty maneuver to get the last few drops out of her hose, but was alarmed to learn she might be practicing Petrol Larceny. Also, could the essence of Car Talk really be expressed by one single word? Plus, Bruce in Illinois shares another reminder why you should never buy a car from your brother, a Saturn keeps mooing long past the pasture, and a sure-fire way to test a relationship: cook your girlfriend's transmission. All this, plus a few more signs you may need a new car, this week on Car Talk.

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Heidi's Maneuver

by joewang

I had a response. You mentioned that you basically take a few drops of the previous person's gasoline and you leave drops of your own gasoline for the next guy - a leave a penny / take a penny system that leaves the underlying karma entirely undisturbed. However, how does this square with the different grades of gasoline available at a common pump? I am not anally-retentive enough to suggest that a few drops of 89-octane will corrupt the integrity of my 16 gallons of 93-octane, but it might mean that those who purchase high-test gasoline are (in addition to throwing money down their gas tanks anyway) getting *further* screwed by the pumps. I own a Saab, which requires the premium stuff (much like my girlfriend), but I feel now that I am adding at least a few drops of premium to those behind me while diluting my purchase due to the cheapskates who came before. Your thoughts?

Heidi's right!

by Mary Ann Schafer

I almost hiccupped in joyful recognition of a kindred spirit. I too lift the hose above my head at the end of the gas delivery. I started doing this when I noticed gas dribbling from the hose onto my car and onto the blacktop. So, if I am preventing gas from dribbling, I am definitely NOT stealing from the next customer, thank you very much!

Favorite Moment: I did enjoy the suggestion of doing this in disguise. I love garb!


by crrobin

I fail to follow your guys' logic on this one. The meter is in the pump housing before the nozzle. The amount of gasoline purchased passes through the meter on to the hose to the nozzle and into the tank. Heidi "owns" or has paid for everything that passed through the meter. My question is why is she not getting what she paid for; i.e., what is in the hose between the nozzle and the meter??


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