Hooniverse Asks: What's Your Gas Habit- Fill Up or Dollar Amount?

Despite the unexpected drop in the cost of a fill up this past year, most people still follow some sort of ritual when it comes to gassing up their vehicle. It may be a big-ass truck with dual tanks were one is filled one week and the other the next. Or maybe it’s the desire to hit a specific gallon or dollar count on every pump run so it’s the timing that varies.
Whatever the prescription, it is your own, and today I wan’t to know what makes you tick… over the pump’s meters. Do you go in for a full-on fill-up every time you hit the station? Or, are you more of the type to put a certain dollar (or Euro, £, or whatever) in at each visit? Do you have a gas station ritual?
Image: Reaching Utopia

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77 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What's Your Gas Habit- Fill Up or Dollar Amount?”

  1. 0A5599 Avatar

    Normally I fill the tank.
    Exception is the Ramcharger, which has a 35 gallon tank with a soaped hairline crack near the top. I try not to have more than 20 gallons in it to keep the fuel level below the crack.
    Exception to the exception is right before a trip of 200+ miles, when I anticipate consumption will get the fuel level below the crack within a few hours.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar


      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        Rub bar soap over the leak in a fuel tank. The soap is pliable enough to get into the crack/hole to plug the leak, and isn’t soluble in gasoline. It hasn’t worked so well for me this time because a big plastic tank full (or not full) of a couple hundred pounds of sloshing fuel tends to flex a lot, which squishes the soap back out.
        I just remembered another exception. Some stations set a $75 or $100 limit for pay at the pump. I don’t patronize stations with lower limits when I’m trying to fill the tank, but generally I’ll call a hundred bucks close enough.

  2. gasguzlerwannabe Avatar

    well I have a tank the size of a thimble so I only ever put in

  3. Tamerlane's Thoughts Avatar
    Tamerlane’s Thoughts

    Normally, I fill up. But if I see a super cheap cash price, and I don’t have enough cash, I just use whatever amount I have in my wallet.

  4. Brendan A. MacWade Avatar
    Brendan A. MacWade

    When I dance, I dance. I fill ‘er up. 12 gallon tank, so that’s easy.


    I fill up to a round number of dollars e.g. $48.50 not $48.39. For me its easier to remember just in case the gas station tries to pull a fast one on me… Its happened before.

    1. Drzhivago138 Avatar

      My father and I do that just because it’s easier when balancing the checkbook…my mother gets so antsy when we do because “your tank is full already!”

  6. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    You’ll have to ask my kid, he gives the attendant my credit card. The back seat is closer to the fuel door.
    “Fill up with regular, please.”
    I had a cousin visiting from another state and had to get fuel for my car that had the tank on the passenger side. We had the windows down because my car’s A/C was on the fritz. So I pop the fuel door as I pull up to the pump and the attendant comes to the passenger window and goes “Fill Up?”
    My cousin goes, “No, I’m Karl.”
    Apparently my cousin was unaware of the amazing and awesome rules of NJ that we don’t pump our gas, and honestly thought the guy was talking to him.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      You still can’t fill your own tank? Somehow I have to believe the mob is involved.

      1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

        I don’t want to, especially after this winter. Make some other sap stand outside. It’s bad enough they make us turn the engine off, I want the heat to still blow on my feet at a warm 75°.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          It didn’t come with a Webasto heater?

          1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

            Haha! Do any?

  7. onrails Avatar

    You’re going to burn the gas anyway, might as well fill it and have less trips to the station.

    1. Citric Avatar

      Unless the station attendant is cute, in which case you might want more trips to the station.
      A friend of mine lived in a town where the gas stations were filled with attractive women and we couldn’t explain why this was.

      1. roguetoaster Avatar

        If ever there was a convincing reason to move to an area this has to be it!
        Where was this anyway?

        1. Citric Avatar

          Tisdale, Sk. Neither of us live there anymore and haven’t for years, so no idea if this still holds true.

          1. roguetoaster Avatar

            Oh, Canada.

          2. Sjalabais Avatar

            Somehow, I don’t see you saying that with the passion required in this conversation.

  8. dukeisduke Avatar

    Mine is fill-up. Also, I use the Fuelly app, so I can track my mileage (but the latest version has some bugs that have gone unresolved for the last two months.

    1. JayP Avatar

      How do you like Fuelly?
      I’ve been married to the Car Minder app for a few years.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        I like Fuelly alright, but in the latest release, they screwed up the city/highway ratio slider. If I set it to 95%, it changes it to 19% (it’s dividing the number by five). I use text messaging to enter my fill-ups, rather than going into the app (a holdover from when I used it with a BlackBerry). It’s been like two months since they released an update, so I’m beginning to wonder what’s going to happen with Fuelly – if it’s going to become abandonware.
        I’ll look for Car Minder – do they have it for iOS?

        1. JayP Avatar

          Yes on iOS.
          Not that great in logging but it does give the option to track maintenance. I’ve never been so prompt for oil changes ever.

    2. salguod Avatar

      I use aCar on Android for all my record keeping. Fuelly bought aCar a few months ago, I suspect their app development efforts might be going into merging the two. I hope that they don’t screw up aCar, I’ve got almost 2 decades of records that I’ve compiled from other apps and spreadsheets over the years.

  9. GTXcellent Avatar

    Depends on the season – in winter, I really try to never get below a half tank and then will always fill it right to the top. Come summer time though, anything goes. Sometimes I’ll just throw in $20, other times it’s all the way go.
    My toys are different though, they don’t get enough use so I’ll generally only put in a little more than I think I’ll use in that trip. Top off with a little Sta-Bil and call it good.

  10. Mr. Ollivander Avatar
    Mr. Ollivander

    I fill up all the time. Normally when I get between 1/2 and 1/4. During the winter, I look for the weather reports and fill on the “warmest” day.

  11. JayP Avatar

    Fillup on all cars and have since I can remember keeping track of mileage- maybe 2001? Even before with the MG. The fuel gauge never worked so we ran it to 250 miles, then filled up. Anything past that was risking runnin’ dry.

  12. Muthalovin Avatar

    I don’t really have any ritual, though I was very pleased the one time I filled up with premium (93) for under $20 a few months ago.

  13. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Pay-At-The-Pump means that I generally fill up without much thought. There were two times in my life when this was not the case.
    When I first got my license, I didn’t have a credit or debit card, and card readers at the pump weren’t all that common, anyway. I’d usually still fill up, except at the rare stations where it was prepay only. If it was prepay, I’d hand the guy a 10 for a pack of smokes and tell him to put the change on whatever pump I was at.
    When gas was $4+/gallon and I was daily driving my truck, I’d just fill to the pump cut off. Depending on the station, this was either $75 or $100. I never reran my card to top it off.

  14. William Robinson Avatar
    William Robinson

    use to be that I always filled the tank on my car when the gauge hits a quarter tank…. the only car I never pumped a full tank into was my old diesel burban. Heck in that thing half a tank would last a week. It may have been gutless wounder but man it was amazing on fuel.
    My wife is the type to stick $20 at a time into the tank and don’t mind stopping for gas everyday. Me I like to stop as little as possible especially this time of year.

  15. ptschett Avatar

    Pay at the pump, fill till the 1st click (to not overload the evaporative emissions canister), punch it into Car Minder and be on my merry way.
    In winter I’m looking to refill as soon as I’m down to 1/2 tank; the rest is reserve to keep the engine running and the heat going if I slide off the road. The other 3 8 months of the year I’m refilling at 1/4 tank generally, to keep enough reserve for cooling the fuel pump.
    If a vehicle is going to be sitting for a while, it gets parked with a full or nearly-full tank to minimize the amount of air it’ll ‘breathe’ during the daily temperature cycle.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      I’m not sure the tank ‘breathing’ fuel is much of a concern anymore, with fuel systems specially designed to NOT emit any hydrocarbons. However, it’s still good to fill the tank as full as possible when leaving the car for a long time to avoid condensation developing in the tank, especially with today’s added ethanol in the gas which loves to absorb water and grow bacteria.

  16. irishzombieman Avatar

    On the minivan and the motorcycle (and the Metro, once it gets sorted), I fill.
    The truck doesn’t get used as much (and would take almost $70 to top off),
    so I put in $20.02, and think of my favorite BMW.

    1. roguetoaster Avatar

      Clever, wish I had thought of that!
      $20 all I ever put in to my 2002 as the tank leaks right next to the fuel level sensor/pickup tube. I’ll fix it some day, but will live with a bit of fuel vapor when over filled for now.

      1. irishzombieman Avatar

        HA! The first one I ever spent much time in was owned by a friend in college. Leaked from the same spot, to the point where we (improbably wise for our age) did not smoke in the car.
        Whenever I get one down the road, one of the first things I’d like to do will be a fuel cell up behind the rear seats. Never felt real comfortable with the placement of the stock tank.

        1. Batshitbox Avatar

          I hitchhiked back to SF from Burnin’ Dude in a 2002 with a home-brew fuel injection system that led to some interesting roadside encounters. Just about my only experience with them.

  17. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I always fill it up. With card readers on the pumps now and both a debit card and a Phillips 66-Conoco-76 card in my wallet, there doesn’t seem to be any reason NOT to make the most of a stop. I fill up the Town Cow twice a month, once every pay period. I am usually down between a 1/4 and an 1/8th of a tank when the next paycheck rolls around.

  18. Sjalabais Avatar

    Fill up, every monday morning, the day the gas cartel has decided to be the cheapest. Then they will all raise prices in sync until it drops again thursday morning. Actually, I was a bit annoyed yesterday morning because wednesday gas was cheaper than monday gas. This felt like a contract breach.
    As a statistician by training, I do not take filling gas lightly:
    There you have it. A crucial part of my car Excel-tables.

  19. hwyengr Avatar

    There’s a Costco a couple of miles from the house that’s usually cheap enough to make it worth the drive, but we still try to time fill-ups with Costco runs. There, it’s to the top. But if I need gas to make it to Costco, I’ll try to see how close I can get to an even gallon number, usually 2, which with three decimals on the readout is pretty tough to do.

  20. 7FIAT's Later Avatar
    7FIAT’s Later

    I fill my cars, but filling up both tanks on my F-250 is just too much of an investment, so I usually just put enough gas in it to get where I need to go that day.

  21. Citric Avatar

    Depends on where I am. At home, it’s a fill. In America, where your stupid pumps require a zip code that I don’t have, so I have to go inside and get pre-approved, something I’m still bitter about months later clearly, I will usually guess the closest number to what would fill it, which was often $30.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      You can’t just make up a zip code? 90210 comes to mind. I don’t think they can actually prosecute you for lying to a fuel pump about which zip code you live in.
      Gah, you mean when paying by credit card, it needs the zip code of your mailing address. I always pay cash, so big brother can’t track me 😉

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I don’t get it. Do they mail a bill after paying with credit cards? Isn’t the whole point of using plastic to make things go smooth and fast?

        1. Andrew Avatar

          It’s odd – in the US, gas pumps often ask for a zip code as a funny sort of alternate PIN. In Canada, pumps require the PIN associated with the card.
          It’s like it was a whole other country.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Ah…I wonder who came up with that idea. And when. I’d like to imagine a particularly wet Christmas party, everybody nodding with an unstable smile, and suddenly it was decided. No matter how irrational the whole idea is.

          2. Andrew Avatar

            But hey! You almost never have to use your PIN! It’s one of the major benefits of a credit card as opposed to a debit card!

          3. Vairship Avatar

            “Yup, the reduced level of security of simply having to guess the zip code of someone who fills up at that neighborhood gas station every week is great!”, says every criminal ever.

  22. mdharrell Avatar

    Full for the four-strokes and the appropriately calculated amount for maintaining a proper mixture in the two-strokes.

  23. Maymar Avatar

    Because I have a tiny tank (42L, so low fuel light’s on at 32L), I have to fill up every 400-450km – that’s about 3 days of driving. I absolutely fill up on every stop for the sake of not filling up every day.

  24. karonetwentyc Avatar

    Normally, I go for filling the tank. I’d rather have range than a few extra pennies in my pocket.
    The exception to this rule: stations that are obviously gouging on price. There’s one that’s half-a-mile from our house that sells diesel at $4.79/gallon; drive another mile and it’s a much more realistic $3.15. Same applies to their gasoline prices, though not to the same degree.

  25. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    Gas prices in the Portland OR suburbs are meh, but our gas tanks are small so I don’t chase price much. The car is 10 gallons of Regular $28, the motorcycle is 5 gallons of Premium, $15, and my normal commute is bicycle and train so the car only needs gas every other week.

  26. Drives Dead Marques Avatar
    Drives Dead Marques

    Here in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, prices fluctuate a lot. When you see the price go up, it can go up 20-50 cents depending on the situation, then trickle down a penny or two a day until the next time it goes up. I normally fill up sometime after I get below 1/4, but on days where gas is going up, I may fill up early. But I always fill up, and watch http://www.thegasgame.com.

  27. Andrew Avatar

    Fill ‘er up so I can keep tabs on fuel economy.
    Gas prices are pretty well fixed around here. The only way I can save a few bucks on a tank is crossing the border and buying American gas. Many do, but I don’t because it’s kind of a hassle and $CAD is weak right now anyway.

  28. SawdustTX Avatar

    42 gallon tank on a ’95 Suburban. Run it almost dry (over 600 miles), fill it to the top every time. Most stations this now takes two purchases since they limit pay-at-pump purchases to either 35 gallons or $100. Long time ago I had a four-banger manual shift Ford Ranger with two tanks totaling 30 gallons. Could go over 800 miles between fill ups, but if it rained I had to make sure the rear tank was full or the thing had no rear traction.

  29. Batshitbox Avatar

    35 gallon tank!
    Never let the tank go below 1/2, because earthquake preparedness.
    At 1/2, pour the 5-gallon gas can in so it doesn’t go stale (it can take 2 weeks to go through 1/2 tank) (5-gallon gas can sometimes goes into motorbikes)
    Go to nearest station and fill everything with premium.
    Ride bicycle.

    1. Andrew Avatar

      Good food for thought. Here in Canada, there’s the same 15 cent difference, but it’s per litre, not per gallon (see photo in the post – shows a 14 cent difference between 87 and 91 octane).
      Taking the numbers from the picture in the post for an example. A 50L tank would cost $60.70 for 87 octane vs $67.70 for 91 octane. If said tank takes you 500km, that’s 1.4 cents per kilometer. In a 20,000km year, you’ve spent an extra $280; if you go 25k, that’s $350. It’s not THAT much, but it’s a couple months’ worth of insurance.

      1. Batshitbox Avatar

        I’m still getting used to the Andrew, thing, Preludacris!

        1. Andrew Avatar

          My thought was I’d try and rebrand myself out of an obsession, but it’s not working yet. Possibly because I am also Andrew on the Prelude forum I frequent.

      2. Sjalabais Avatar

        Interesting. We count octanes differently in Europe (of course), and Norway has recently all but abandoned ROZ 98 in favour of ROZ 95.Our price swings happen on Monday’s and Thursday’s. Yesterday morning, my local station sold gas for 12.83kr/l in the morning, 14.50kr/l in the afternoon. Now that is a 13% price increase during the day! Filling 50l every second week will make a yearly difference of >2000kr, also in the proximity of 300$ in pre-dollar-appreciation-terms.

        1. Andrew Avatar

          It seems harder to predict the swings here, though two things are certain: gas will inevitably be more expensive on long weekends and holidays, and it is more expensive in summer than winter.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Same here on big driveout days, but summer gas is a tad cheaper. Mostly because diesel is cheaper, too, without the winter additives. With the price being up to 85% taxes (some of them feeding on each other – higher VAT if the oil tax is higher because of higher oil prices), swinging prices are relatively limited. With oil at 100+$ last year, gas at the pump was just below 16kr/l. So a 50% fall in oil prices translates to a ca 15% fall in gas prices.

  30. MistrX Avatar

    Fill ‘er up!

  31. Tiller188 Avatar

    My ritual: Pull into gas station around 1/4 tank left, note mileage on trip meter, clear trip meter, add gas, calculate mileage as a reality check, and I’m off.
    As far as how much gas to get, before I got a credit card it was as much as $20 would get me (which at the time was thankfully quite a bit, since that was when I was driving a dual-tanked beast of a van). Ever since gaining access to the magic of the on-pump credit card reader, though, fill ‘er up.

  32. quattrovalvole Avatar

    Fill up because I’m OCD about calculating the fuel consumption for each tank

  33. Ken Pauley Avatar
    Ken Pauley

    In the Maxima or Highlander (+/-18 Gallon tanks) – Fill Up. These are my primary commuter cars so it’s a exercise in futility if I don’t as a full tank lasts about 4 days commuting.
    In the Bronco, which has a 32 gallon tank only sees a fill up when gas gets cheap. Otherwise $30 here $50 there. When gas prices are more normal she’ll take an easy $120 to fill up and most stations cut off at $75 so it becomes more of a pain in the ass to fill up.

  34. Landon Cook Avatar
    Landon Cook

    This depends on what I’m driving/riding. If I’m in my explorer with a 20 gallon tank and gas at $3.65 a gallon here in California, $40 will give me enough gas to get to and from work. But since this is California and we have gorgeous weather and lol year round, I’ll take my beach cruiser bicycle that’s outfitted with an 80 cc 2 stroke engine on it and $40 will get me to and from work for 2 months lol. Did I mention I live 4 miles from my shop?

  35. fede Avatar

    I usually go with 1000 (uruguayan pesos, about 40 dollars). nice round number, easy to pay, easy to remember what I spent. sadly, not much more than half a tank

  36. mrh1965 Avatar

    Fill er up, write down the current odometer reading on the receipt, and record everything into my spreadsheet when I get home.
    Appropos of nothing, I’ll pay a few cents more for a relatively clean station where the pumps work reliably, the windshield wiper cleaning unit actually has some water/cleaning fluid in it (and towels), and you always get a receipt without having to go inside. My time is valuable.

  37. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    When I was in high school, I typically just put in $20-$30, or less if I didn’t have the cash on me. There was a couple of times I remember scrounging for loose change in between the seats just to throw a gallon or two into the car to make it back home.
    These days I usually fill it to the first click, then gently squeeze in a few more drops to the nearest easily remembered number, which winds up being around $20-$30.

  38. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    I’ve never filled up my truck with gas! It has run since day one on ethanol only, and that’s always fill up.
    My Opala I tend to fill 30 liters a time, it has no partial odo and this way I can keep an eye on it’s consumption.

  39. 1977ChevyTruck Avatar

    What is this whole pay per fill-up thing? I do not understand?
    Kidding, of course. I live on a farm, where we buy our fuel in bulk and keep it on site, so I actually haven’t spent much time at gas stations and whatnot.

    1. Andrew Avatar

      All I know about farm gas is apparently it’s purple and could invalidate your insurance if found in the tank of a non-farm vehicle after an accident.
      Is this even true?

      1. Guest Avatar

        Yes, and no. Farm gas is dyed purple, and you’re not supposed to put it in your personal car, and so most farms have two tanks, one dyed, one not. And although it is not allowed, occasionally people still use purple gas for their personal vehicles, and I’ve never heard of anyone getting caught, or even being checked.

  40. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    while i was in pittsburgh i’d fill up every month or two (i didn’t drive to commute, and you never have to drive far in pittsburgh anyway), and i had a Giant Eagle card so that buying groceries would add to a per-gallon discount on gas.
    that’s right, per-gallon. if i and the others using the card bought enough groceries (we did), the account would accumulate 10c/gal discounts way faster than it ate them up at the end of the month. usually i’d get $1.00-$1.50 off per gallon. so i’d wait until it was as near empty as i dared, pull into the giant eagle getgo station, and fill it to the brim. ding! nearly $30 saved, and all i had to do was scan the card when i did my groceries. over a year and a half, probably saved $200 that way.
    i never tried it, but i guess you could accumulate discounts, pull up with a couple of 55 gal drums, and recreate that episode of Always Sunny.
    besides that, to the top every time. i have a little notebook in which i have recorded the details of every tank i’ve put in my car since i’ve bought it: date, location, miles, gallons, calculated mpg, and cost.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      “fuelperks!® discounts must be redeemed in their
      entirety. Discounted fuel cannot exceed 30 gallons and discounts must be
      used in full on one vehicle in one transaction.”
      well all right then. still, thirty gallons is a lot.

  41. julkinen Avatar

    20 euros buys me 14 litres of fuel, which gives me roughly 200km of highway driving. Of course, most of my driving is just town corners.

  42. Eric Rucker Avatar

    Fill it to the brim on my Golf TDI.
    Fill it to the first click on my Miata.