Stop at the Click Campaign
Gasoline pumps are designed to stop or “click” off when your vehicle’s tank is full. However, it’s common practice to pump beyond the click. The problem is that beyond that first “click”, any additional gasoline pumped may get trapped in the hose or spill out at the next fueling event. In either case, that additional gasoline can clog the air pollution control systems installed at the station or on your car (or both), temporarily preventing them from doing their job to capture gasoline vapors in the future. Check out these websites for more information about the vapor recovery systems at gas stations (Stage II Vapor Recovery) on your car (OnBoard Refueling Vapor Recovery or ORVR).
Why are gasoline vapors bad?
Gasoline contains more than 150 chemicals. How the gasoline is made determines which chemicals are present in the gasoline mixture and in what amounts. The actual composition varies with the source of the crude petroleum, the manufacturer, and the time of year. Regardless of the exact mix, the chemicals in gasoline classify it as a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC). VOC emissions are one of the components needed to create smog on hot sunny days.
Several of the chemical compounds in gasoline are hazardous air pollutants. One of those compounds, benzene, is a human carcinogen, meaning that exposure over time can increase the risk of developing cancers such as leukemia. In addition, benzene can affect the central nervous system, the respiratory tract and the immune system. Ethylbenzene, another chemical found in gasoline, may also cause cancer, as well as developmental, kidney and liver effects. Toluene and xylenes can affect the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. They also have the potential to affect fetal development.
For more information on air toxics in New Jersey, visit the NJDEP’s Bureau of Evaluation and Planning website at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/airtoxics/.
Save Your Money
Once the nozzle clicks off the first time, any additional gasoline you’re paying for may not make it into your tank. It may be either stuck in the hose, or getting ready to spill out at the next fueling event. In either case, you just increased your price per gallon by paying for something you’re likely not getting!
Save Your Health
Gasoline vapors are bad to breathe. When you smell gasoline that means some highly toxic substances are in the air. Topping off your tank can clog the vapor recovery systems that are designed to minimize the amount of vapors released into the air and to protect our health.
Save Your Planet
Gasoline vapors are volatile organic compounds that are involved in the formation of smog. When the vapor recovery system isn’t working properly and gasoline spills on the ground, the residue can run off into our creeks, ocean, and water supply systems.
How Can I Help, Especially Since New Jerseyans Don’t Pump Their Own Gas?
Actually, you may be surprised to know that there are a significant number of private, non-retail gasoline fueling stations in New Jersey where New Jerseyans pump their own gasoline. The vast majority of these facilities belong to state and local governments (pool vehicles, Department of Public Works, etc.) and private corporations with fleets. Other examples include car rental agencies, bus companies and car dealerships. DEP is making an effort to have these facilities tagged with “Stop at the Click” notices as a reminder. New Jerseyans that “self-serve” should also make an effort to reduce their exposure:
- Use the nozzle’s hold-open latch to pump the gas continuously;
- Avoid standing immediately downwind of a pump when fueling; and,
- Be sure to tighten your gas cap until it seals (most click into place). One of the most common and avoidable reasons that the check engine light comes on is due to loose gas caps.
The NJDEP will also be reaching out to retail refueling stations to remind gasoline attendants to “Stop at the Click.” You can help by letting your gas station attendant know right up front not to pump beyond the first “click.” If you are paying in cash, specify an even amount under what it normally takes to fill your tank. This will eliminate the need for those extra pumps.