Many people have heard the myth that leaving your car running while pumping gas can lead to an explosion. However, this is not entirely true. While there may be some danger to keeping the engine running while pumping gas, there are no specific laws that state it is illegal to do so. However, there are some safety precautions that drivers should consider. This article will delve into the topic of whether or not it is a law to cut your car off while pumping gas and the safety measures that drivers can take to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.

Myths about Cutting off Your Car While Pumping Gas

One of the most widespread myths about cutting off your car while pumping gas is that it can lead to an explosion. However, the reality is that gas stations and their surrounding areas are already dangerous environments as gas fumes and gasoline can ignite with very little effort. Although gas station fires are rare, they can happen, and keeping your car running can add to the risk.

The risk of fire or explosion is also increased when static electricity is generated. This can occur when you enter or exit your vehicle while pumping gas. To prevent this, ensure that you touch something metal, such as the frame of your car, before touching the gas nozzle.

Another myth about cutting off your car while pumping gas is that it saves fuel. Many people believe that by keeping the engine running, they can save fuel. However, the opposite is true. By turning the engine off, you are saving fuel as the engine is not using any while the car is parked.

State Laws on Cutting off Your Car While Pumping Gas

Although there are no federal or state laws that specifically require drivers to turn off their car while pumping gas, some states have safety guidelines in place. For instance, in New Jersey, it is illegal to pump your gas, period. You must let an attendant do it for you.

In Oregon, it is a legal requirement to not pump your own gas, unless you are at a rural gas station that is not staffed. However, this law has been brought into the 21st century, and as of 2018, residents of Oregon have been allowed to pump their own gas at any station outside of Portland.

Other states, such as California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Washington, D.C. have laws that prohibit idling for more than three minutes. However, these laws do not apply to all drivers, so it is important to check with your local authorities to determine the laws in your area.

Safety Tips While Pumping Gas

Regardless of whether your state has laws about cutting off your car while pumping gas or not, there are certain safety tips that you should follow to ensure your safety and that of your fellow drivers and gas station employees.

Firstly, always turn off your car ignition while pumping gas. As outlined earlier, keeping the engine running can be hazardous, especially in a confined space such as a gas station. Also, be sure to stay in the car while fueling, and do not use your mobile phone or smoke while pumping gas.

Secondly, if you must exit your car while pumping gas, ensure to touch something metal such as the frame of your car before touching the nozzle, to prevent static electricity build-up.

Finally, always stay within sight of the pump when filling up your car. This allows you to quickly respond to any emergency, such as a gas spill or fire.


In conclusion, there are no specific laws about cutting off your car while pumping gas. However, safety precautions are necessary to avoid potential hazards, such as the risk of fire or explosion. Drivers should always turn off their car’s engine when refueling, avoid using mobile phones or smoking, and ensure that static electricity does not build up. By following these safety measures, drivers can ensure their safety and that of their fellow drivers and gas station employees.


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