A Gasoline Mystery…solved

Posted September 11th, 2009 by Andy. Comments (2).

I was driving back from San Mateo on Sunday from my cousin’s birthday party when I noticed that I only had a quarter tank of gas left.  I decided it would be a good idea to stop and buy some gas.  So I pulled into a 76 gas station and started filling up.  My car was pretty dirty so I washed my windows while I waited.  Once I was finished, I saw that the pump had stopped: 11 gallons, about $37.  The darn machine wouldn’t give me a receipt though.  I got back in the car and started it up.  I glanced down and saw that my gas meter still read only a quarter tank.  “What in the world?”  I thought to myself.  My gas gauge must be broken.  I tried tapping it with my finger and turning the car on and off a few times.  No luck.

So I drove home and called my dad to let him know what had happened.  He said it’s very probable that the gauge was busted and that if I needed to schedule an appointment with the mechanic that I should let him know.  I was pretty bummed that my gauge was broken because that means $$ to get it fixed.  On Wednesday I decided that I should confirm that it was indeed the gas gauge that was broken.  The test I had in mind was to try to fill up the tank again, and if I could only get around a 1/2 a gallon then the meter was indeed broken.

When I pulled up to the gas station and started pumping gas it got to 1/2 gallon, then 1 gallon…2…3….4…12 gallons.  At this point I’m thinking there’s no way I should be able to fit this much gas in, then it dawns on me…that gas station ripped me off!  I paid $37 dollars for no gas!  I had to just laugh at situation because lets just say it’s been an interesting summer here in SF.  So I drove home and told my friends Tif and Tob about it.  We figured there was no way for me to prove that the station had ripped me off, plus the fact that I didn’t have a receipt.  I was just gonna have to swallow the loss.  The one mystery we couldn’t solve was how did the gas pump know to stop if it wasn’t pumping any gas?  Was it pumping air?

Later that night I decided to check my online bank statement to see if I had been charged already.  Strangely, there was no record of any transaction that day.  What is going on here? I thought to myself.  I went downstairs to tell the Tif and Tob.  After a few seconds Tob says, “Oh…I think I know what happened.  After you put in your debit card and put the nozzle in your car you probably forgot to select the grade of gas that you wanted. ”  Then it dawned on me.  The pump was just waiting for me to select the gas I wanted the whole time I was washing me windows!  It was just sitting there idle.  And number that I looked at on the meter when I was done was the amount of gas bought by whoever was there BEFORE me.  I also recalled thinking it was strange the the machine had not asked me if I wanted a receipt.  It didn’t ask because I hadn’t bought anything.

So there is nothing wrong with my gas gauge, and I didn’t get ripped off by the gas station.  Apparently I just don’t know how to pump gas.  What a summer it has been.

2 Responses to “A Gasoline Mystery…solved”

  1. Brian Wong

    Dude, that’s hilarious! I was laughing out loud when I read that. What a bummer that would have been. I’ve also had my gas gauge stuck at about 1/4 tank. But if I drive a few miles, usually it goes up to full by that time. On another note, that’s why I always buy gas with a credit card. If I ever have to dispute the charges, they’ll be on my side. Glad you were able to get your gas pumped, and not ripped off.

  2. Keivn Wong

    That was indeed a great story. Looks like you’re learning things outside of school and in the “real world.” Hopefully this will never happen to me. HAHA

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