How do gas stations work?

Gas stations operate as retail establishments where customers can purchase gasoline and other automotive products. They typically have underground storage tanks that store different grades of gasoline, diesel, and sometimes alternative fuels.

When a customer arrives at a gas station, they pull up to a fuel pump, select the desired fuel grade, pay at the pump or inside the gas station, and insert the nozzle into their vehicle's fuel tank. Fuel is then pumped from the underground storage tanks through the fuel dispensers and into the customer's vehicle. Gas stations also often offer convenience store amenities, car wash services, and sometimes automotive maintenance and repair facilities.

Do gas stations water down gas?

No, reputable gas stations will never water down gasoline. Such practices would be illegal and a violation of regulations. Gasoline is a refined petroleum product that goes through a series of quality control measures to ensure its purity and compliance with all industry standards. Gas stations (should) receive their gasoline from reliable suppliers who adhere to strict quality assurance protocols. Any allegations of gas stations watering down gasoline are typically unfounded rumors or misinformation.

How much does it cost to build a gas station?

Building a gas station isn’t cheap. Generally, constructing a gas station can range from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars, with the average being about $2.5 million. Costs typically include:

  • Land acquisition
  • Site preparation
  • Underground storage tanks
  • Fuel dispensers
  • Convenience store construction
  • Signage
  • Utilities
  • Permits and licenses

It is crucial to conduct thorough research, engage with professionals, and obtain accurate cost estimates based on specific project requirements before you ever consider building a gas station.


  • Department of Energy (DOE) Charging Infrastructure Procurement and Installation Guide: This comprehensive guide provides information on the installation and requirements for electric vehicle charging stations, helping gas station owners understand the process of integrating charging infrastructure into their existing facilities.
  • Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI): PEI provides resources and guidance for fueling equipment and technology, helping gas station owners navigate technological advancements and compliance requirements.
  • Renewable Fuels Association (RFA): RFA provides resources and information on biofuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, helping gas station owners explore the option of offering alternative fuels alongside traditional gasoline.
  • National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS): NACS offers resources and industry insights for convenience store and gas station owners, including trends, best practices, and educational materials on adapting to the changing fueling landscape.
  • Department of Energy: Clean Cities Coalition Network: The Clean Cities program promotes the use of alternative fuels and supports the development of refueling infrastructure. Gas station owners can find information on grants, incentives, and technical assistance available through the Clean Cities Coalition Network.

About the Author

Christopher Murray

Christopher Murray

Personal Finance Expert

Christopher Murray is a professional personal finance and sustainability writer and editor who enjoys writing about everything from budgeting and saving to unique investing options like SRI and cryptocurrency.

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