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Lisa Stewart
November 17, 2023
Reading time
3 min read

How to talk about gas stations in English

In this article, we'll explore some useful words and phrases that can make your experience at a gas station smoother, especially if English is your preferred language.
How to talk about gas stations in English

How to talk about gas stations in English

If you drive a car, you'll find yourself needing to stop at a gas station at some point or another. Whether it's to fill up your tank or grab a quick snack, gas stations are an essential part of our lives on the road. In this article, we'll explore some useful words and phrases that can make your experience at a gas station smoother, especially if English is your preferred language.

Understanding your gas gauge

Before we dive into the world of gas stations, let's start with the basics. Your car's "gas gauge" is a crucial indicator that shows how much fuel is left in your vehicle's tank. It typically has the letters F for "full" and E for "empty." So, when you see your gas gauge pointing towards E, it's time to find a gas station to refuel.

Gas gauge pointing closer to E

When your car doesn't have much gas left, you can say it's "running out of gas" or "running low on gas." It's a situation every driver wants to avoid, as it can leave you stranded on the side of the road. You might even hear someone say, "My car's on E." Another expression you may come across in English is "running on fumes," which means there's very little gas left in the tank.

Filling up at the gas station

In the United States, we commonly refer to gas stations as places to "get gas" or "gas up." Unlike some other regions where they use terms like "filling stations" or "petrol stations," we simply say, "I need to go to the gas station" when our fuel is running low.

If you're driving on the highway, you can also ask, "I'm low on gas. How far is the nearest rest stop?" Rest stops are convenient roadside areas that offer amenities such as restrooms, gas stations, and other facilities.

Once you arrive at the gas station, it's time to pull up next to a "gas pump." This machine is responsible for putting gas into your car. In most of the United States, gas stations are "self-service," meaning you pump your own gas.

Woman pumping her car with gas

However, there are still some "full-service" gas stations where a gas attendant will pump the gas for you. When you approach the gas pump, you can simply say, "I need some gas," or "I need to put some gas in my car."

Choosing the right fuel

When it comes to selecting the right type of gas, gas pumps usually offer various options such as Unleaded, Regular, Plus, Premium, and Diesel.

Types of fuel

To communicate your preference, you can say, “Fill her up with Unleaded, please," "Let me get $50 Premium," or “Can I please get $25 worth of regular gas?” It's interesting to note that it's quite common for people to refer to their cars using feminine pronouns. For example, you might hear someone say, "I don't want to sell my Honda. She's too special."

Additional requests

While you're at the gas station, you may have a few other requests for the gas attendant. These can include asking them to clean the windshield, add antifreeze, check the tire pressure, or inspect the engine oil. If they agree to help, they might say, "Sure, pop the hood." This means you should open or unlock the front of your car to expose the engine, allowing them to perform the necessary checks or services.

Car hood opening

If you need to put air in your tires, you might ask the gas attendant, "Do you have change for a dollar?" This phrase implies that you're looking for smaller coins that add up to one dollar. You can also use this expression with other amounts of money, such as asking, "Do you have change for a 5, 10, 20, or 50?"

These days, most gas stations have automated pumps that accept credit or debit cards. However, there are still some places where you need to pay inside the store. When paying inside, remember to inform the cashier about the dollar amount and the pump number where your car is parked.

Finding a service station

In the event that your car encounters mechanical issues, it's essential to locate a gas station that has a service station with an automobile mechanic. In the English language, it's worth noting that while a "garage" at a house or business is where you park your car, a "garage" at a gas station refers to the service station where you can get your car fixed.

Mechanic fixing a car at the garage

Now that you're equipped with these helpful English words and phrases, your next visit to a gas station should be a breeze.