Pay for Gas

The act of buying gas is an important part of the car-driving experience. It's not complicated, but until you've done it yourself, it may seem intimidating. Here's how to go about buying gasoline.


  1. Drive to the gas station. Park next to a gas pump with your gas tank filler facing the pump.[1]
  2. Turn off your engine.[2]
  3. Pay for the gas before you pump it. If you're using a credit card, hand it to the attendant. In some locations, you can pump your own gas. In that case, you would swipe the card yourself. In most places, an attendant will do it for you.[3]
  4. Put gas into your car or other vehicles (or a gas can). Tell the attendant how much gas you want. Often people just ask for a "fill up," meaning enough to fill the tank. Again, in some locations, you can pump your own gas. This involves removing the nozzle from the pump's cradle, inserting it into your car's fuel-tank filler, selecting the grade of gas you want (the octane level), triggering the nozzle, and either holding the nozzle while it the gas flows or setting the nozzle to flow by itself and turn off automatically when your tank is full.[4]
  5. Check the oil. At a full-service station, the attendant may offer to check your car's oil level and wash your windshield. There is no charge for this service. At a self-service station, you can do these things yourself while the gas is pumping.[5]
  6. Replace the gas nozzle and the cap on your tank if you're pumping the gas yourself. Don't drive off without your gas cap.[6]
  7. Drive away. You're done.


  • Don't leave the gas station without paying. That is a crime with serious consequences.
  • Gas prices change frequently. Take note of the advertised price as you arrive at the station.


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