How to Pump Your Own Gas: The Ultimate Guide for Newbies

Have you just moved to a new city that is dotted with self-service gas stations? Are you worried about how to pump your own gas? don’t worry! We’ve put together this quick how-to guide for all the newbies out there. It’s really not as difficult as it seems! All you’ll need is your car, an empty fuel tank, and some common sense.

How to Pump Your Own Gas at a Service Station

It’s time to get pumping! Does it seem too difficult? Well, don’t worry because we will walk you through how to pump your own gas for the first time:

Park your car.

If there are no cars ahead of you in the row, drive it beside the fuel pump. Park in a way, so the fuel filler cap of your vehicle faces the pump. How do you know which side the cap is facing? Well, there’s a small arrow on the car’s fuel gauge that indicates the right direction of the cap.

Turn off the engine.

When you’re ready to pump, turn your car completely off and take out your keys. Put them in a safe place. Open the fuel filler cap. It may have an external unlocking system or there should be a button in your car to release the cap.

Pay for the fuel.

The next step of how to pump your own gas is to pay for the fuel. The pump should have a slot for card payment. So, all you need to do is to stick the card to the slot and pay the bill. If you want to pay through cash, go inside the service station and pay the cashier. After making the payment, the cashier will turn the pump on for service.

self serve gas station
A self-service filling station. (Credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr)

Select the fuel amount.

In this step, you have to choose the amount of fuel you want the fuel tank to fill with. Before doing so, put the nozzle of the pump into the fuel filler of your vehicle. If there is a cap on the filler, loosen or remove it. Then, select the fuel grade. For example, if you have always been filling the tank with “regular”, press the button “87” marked on it.

Pull the lever.

Now, it’s time to start the pump and fill up the tank. There should be a lever on the nozzle. Pull it and the fuel will start flowing. It’s necessary to flip up the holder of the nozzle in some older pumps.

Fill up the tank.

Hold the lever on and it will make a “pop” sound when the tank is full. It’s supposed to stop automatically after supplying the selected amount of fuel. In some stations, there is a system that keeps the pump running until the fuel tank is full.


Finish the task.

Remove the nozzle and put it back from where you have taken it. Always keep its open end facing upward when removing from the fuel filler. Drops of fuel on the car may damage its paintwork. Reattach the filler cap and you are done.

This is how to use a gas pump in a self serve gas station. Your car is now ready to get back onto the road with a full tank of gas. Hopefully, this how-to guide has been helpful for newbies who are trying out self serve stations for the first time. Some people may not like pumping their own gas because it takes time, but there are some benefits to doing so. For one thing, you don’t have to pay for the gas station service any more.

Safety Tips to Follow at a Self Serve Gas Station

When pumping your own gas, you need to follow some safety rules. In fact, these safety measures should be followed in any gas station.

  • Don’t carry anything burning or something that can create a spark in your hand. So, if you are smoking, put it off before going into the station.
  • Some people have the habit of topping off the tank even after the nozzle stops. Don’t do that. You will only spill fuel on the ground and car.
  • If you need any kind of help, whether it’s for watching over your kid in the car or for any assistance with the gas pumping, ask the gas station workers. They are there to help the customers.


Pumping your own gas is not as difficult or daunting of a task as it may seem. It’s actually pretty easy. You already know the basics if you own a car and have been visiting the filling stations. A self-serve station is nothing different. With this guide about how to pump your own gas, you should be able to do so confidently next time.