Pumping Gas With Car On? Here’s Why You Probably Shouldn’t

There are several rumors and concerns about the dangers of pumping gas while the automobile is running. Some believe it’s risky, while others insist it is fine. It does not, however, deliver as definitive an answer as you may believe.

When visiting a gas station, however, there are a few habits that car owners should avoid at all costs, including a handful that can lead to disastrous situations.

Can You Pump Gas with the Car On?

So you might ask, “Is it possible to pump petrol while your car is running?” The answer is yes. But, should you, however, do so? Most likely not. While the fire is not likely to happen at all times, leaving the engine running increases the probability of gas vapors igniting if they come into touch with static electricity.

Businessman refueling car at the gas station.

Technically, pumping gas into a gasoline tank while a car is running is completely safe as long as there isn’t a spark present. Hence, to avoid fire or any form of accident, it is best to just turn off your vehicle and wait until your gas finishes.

Why is Pumping Gas with the Car Dangerous?

Gasoline is highly flammable. This is the reason why gas stations do not allow smoking or open fires near the pumps. To be precise, pumping gas itself won’t harm you but the situations that may arise from it can.

As you fill up your vehicle with gas while the engine is running, you may not realize it but the chances of gas vapors colliding with heat or electricity are increasing. Thus, prompting a risk of ignition.

And out of the hundreds of automobiles driving through the petrol station every hour, it only takes one car to flare up and cause an explosion.

Static electricity is another source of flames at petrol stations. Before reaching for the gas pump, it is important that you discharge any static energy by touching something. Because if you don’t, the static energy in the nozzle could release and cause a flash fire.

Static accumulation on your clothes and discharging it near a gasoline tank can cause a fire to ignite quickly. But regardless of how minor the threats are, the best thing that you can still do is to turn your engines off.

In the end, leaving your car running while pumping gas is still a safety threat that is outlawed practically in many places. And even if you may not cause an accident, you will undoubtedly face legal consequences.

mythbusters pumping gas while car is running

Learn through Mythbusters, whether it is safe or not to pump gas when your car is running.


While the probability of your car bursting into flames while your engine is on is uncommon, it does not limit you from experiencing potential implications that could become serious if taken for granted.

Therefore, it is important that you follow some safety precautions to avoid them. Aside from turning off your vehicle while pumping gas, refraining yourself or other people from smoking is strictly important. Simply turning off your mobile phone and avoiding phone calls can also save you from accumulating static electricity.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and we will do our best to answer your queries and suggestions.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!

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