What does it mean when you smell gas while driving?

I was running errands this morning and I noticed a gas smell coming from my car. I put gas in my car yesterday, so it’s hard to imagine that’s the cause. What does it mean when my car smells like gas?

Kaitlin May · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Oh no! A gas smell isn’t just unpleasant—it can point to serious issues with your car. Although there could be several reasons for the gas smell in your car, the most common culprit could be a fuel system leak.
It’s a good idea to stop driving your vehicle once you notice the smell so you can begin assessing the reason behind it—which could be any of the following:
  • A busy gas station can cause the smell to linger.
  • A leak in your fuel system can trigger the smell.
  • A faulty fuel pressure regulator can burn gas excessively and emit fumes.
If you just got a refill on fuel a few hours ago, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about a mechanical issue. If the smell’s stuck around since yesterday, though, it’s time to evaluate the technical source of the odor.
A fuel system leak isn’t just hard to detect—it poses an immediate danger to you and your car. If you keep driving with a leaking fuel system, you risk an engine fire or worse. Take the car to a trusted mechanic for immediate repairs if you suspect a fuel leak.
Keeping your car safe before, during, and after a maintenance issue is essential for your health, your car’s longevity, and for keeping your
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