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  • Can I avoid fuel evaporation and loss by keeping my tank almost full?

    It shouldn't be a concern. Technical changes to vehicle fuel systems have virtually eliminated fuel evaporation losses.
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  • Does it help to fill up in the morning when fuel is cool?

    Very little. While it’s true that gasoline expands as it gets hotter (reducing the energy content in a given volume), the expansion is only about one percent for every 15 degrees F. Moreover, storage tanks at gasoline stations are buried several feet underground, helping to insulate fuel and keep temperature relatively constant. The benefits, if any, of filling up in the morning versus the evening would be hard to notice.
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  • How much tax do we pay on a gallon of gasoline?

    Depending on where you live, you could pay state, federal and also local taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. From 2000 to 2010, taxes averaged about 22% of the retail gasoline price.

    The Energy Information Administration has a brochure called A Primer on Gasoline Prices which has detailed information on gasoline prices.
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  • What does the government do with the money?

    Traditionally the bulk of the money is used for building and repairing road and bridges.
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  • Do most customers pump their own gasoline?

    Yes. The first self-serve station opened in 1947 in California. Self-serve really grew in popularity in the 1970s. By 1993, the most recent year for which data are available, self-serve accounted for 88 percent of all sales in states where it was legal.
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  • Why are prices posted in fractions?

    The idea of posting the prices in fractions began back in the 1930s, when "discount" service stations opened and owners promoted their price on their signs out front. To emphasize the discount, these independents priced their product in fractions, sometimes at 1/2 cent intervals, but often at 9/10.
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  • May you pump your own gas in all 50 states?

    No. New Jersey and Oregon have laws that allows only an attendant to pump gasoline.  Customers in all other 48 states may pump their own gasoline.
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  • I see gasoline trucks going traveling on the road daily. Are they delivering product right from the refinery?

    Sometimes, but most often they are delivering fuel to a service station from a bulk terminal that has been supplied by pipeline. There are 142 refineries operating in the United States.From the refineries, the products are transported by barge, truck or pipeline.

    The majority of the product is moved by underground pipelines and stored in large aboveground storage tanks at 1,300 locations around the country. These locations are called terminals.

    Transport trucks, especially designed to safely carry petroleum products, pick up product at the terminal and deliver it to the underground storage tanks at service stations.
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  • When was the first service station established?

    API’s historical files note that the first "filling" station was opened in Seattle in 1907 by Standard Oil of California, which is now Chevron Co. USA. The "filling" station included a hose that dispensed gasoline directly into the vehicle from an elevated tank. Charles Duryea had invented the gasoline-powered horseless carriage in 1893, but there were few owners in those early years. They purchased gasoline from bulk depots, often in five gallon containers. The industry was transformed in 1908 when Henry Ford mass- produced the first Model T, and many retail locations began selling gasoline at the curb. The first "drive-in" service station opened on December 1, 1913 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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  • I sometimes notice stations closing temporarily and digging up the site. What were they doing?

    They were likely making improvements to protect the environment, especially against potential leaks from underground storage tanks.  By law, older tanks had to be replaced, but newer tanks can be "upgraded" to include improved leak detection systems and protection against future corrosion.
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