The best time to purchase gas

What is the best time to get gas?

I read an interesting article from a local newspaper that said, “… Americans currently spend $2.57 billion more than they should for gasoline and diesel fuel due to gasoline expanding at warmer temperatures.”

That is just unbelievable to me. I have always heard that you should buy gasoline at the coolest time of the day (9pm-6:30am) but I had no idea that so much money was being lost to fuel expansion. The article goes on to say that, “retailers currently measure the gas at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and consumers are paying a price for gas based on that temperature.”

There is “temperature compensating technology” available, but the big oil companies have successfully argued that it would cost too much to retrofit all of the gas pumps across the U.S. Apparently, here in Missouri, all the gas stations will have to install these compensating tools within 6 years.

What is the best day to get gas?

Since we are on the topic of gas saving, I should mention that some people say the best day to purchase gas is on Tuesday or Wednesday. Typically gas prices are raised over the weekend and fall a bit once they come back into the middle of the week. Personally I have not watched or noticed these trends, so I am not really sure about this. If anyone has noticed this pattern, please share in the comments below.

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  1. Hank

    I notice it. I almost always fill my tank up on Tuesday nights on my way home from work. If I happen to miss it, then Wednesday would be my last resort. I fill it up regardless if my tank is half full/empty.

  2. Tim

    According to Consumer Reports, and as reported by CNN (, the gas temperature varies little because it’s stored in underground tanks where the temperature tends to be stable. So, this is a myth.

  3. Adam

    Check out this link from where they address issues like this and their reliability. I am not saying your paper is wrong and snopes is right, but just another source to compare.

  4. bob

    @Tim and Adam
    Wow, that is really interesting… Someone is VERY wrong here, if this paper is reporting that 2.57 billion is lost each year and others are saying it is a myth – something isn’t right.

    After reading both the articles, they do concede that there could be some small variation, but that it isn’t worth your energy to buy gas at a specific time of day. I don’t really know how to figure out if those small variances could add up to 2.57 billion – who knows…

  5. Ryan K from Going Carless

    The nice thing about choosing to go car-free is that I whiz by gas stations on my bike and relish in the price that gas prices don’t matter a lick to me…

    That being said, it is interesting that there is a science to when to buy gas based on temperature and demand trends.

  6. mitchell

    this is actually false. the time of day is irrelevant. I realize that liquid contracts and expands basedon the time of day, but that does not matter with gasoline. Why? Gasoline is typically stored in an underground sealed tank- typically a 8000-12000 gallon tank for each grade of fuel. Let’s say that the outside temp fluctuates from 85 midday to 65 at its coolest point in the day. The fuel is underground, surrounded by metal, which is surrounded by earth. It is kept naturally cool by the ground temperature. The temp of that underground fuel would probably not even fluctuate 1 degree on the day with the biggest temp fluctuation outside. Think about going in a cave. typically, an underground cave will have the exact same temperature every day no matter the outside temp. The same applies here. Outside temperature changes will not affect the temp of fuel underground at all.