My wife keeps me honest, and prevents me from breaking the law all the time.

Whether it is taking rocks from the beach, passing on the right, or starting my car in a no-idle zone, she's always making sure I am not getting hit with a silly fine, or worse.

I frequently leave the gas pumping while I run into the gas station store to grab a Gatorade. Or if it is cold, I will keep the gas pumping and sit back in my car.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Not all gas stations have the tab to hold your gas pump pumping without physically holding it yourself. However, at the ones that do, I ALWAYS let it pump while I do something else.

No, I am not too busy. I just do not want to hold onto that handle if the mechanism allows me not to have to.

Is that illegal?

There are signs at every gas station that say "Do not leave vehicle unattended." Yet we see people do exactly what I do: get the gas pumping, flick that lever, and walk inside the store to grab some gas station goodies.

Is it really illegal?

Like many "laws", it is kind of unclear. It seems to be more of a rule than an arrestable offense.

What do we know for a fact? There are signs at every gas station that say this. Some gas stations remove the mechanism that allows you to walk away from a pumping gas dispenser. But others do not.

Here is the annoying answer: I have no clue. I have searched laws on this all over New England (and even outside of the New England states), and I cannot find a clear "law."

Now, that does not mean it is legal. One website I found (which does not seem too reliable) claims you can be fined up to $1,500 for leaving the gas pump unattended.

As far as I can tell, this rule, or "law," only comes into play IF something were to happen. For example, if you leave your car while it is pumping, it overflows, and a fire is started, you are 100% liable.

BUT, there is nothing that supports that if you do it without an incident occurring, you can be fined.

So it is kind of up to you. If you chance it and leave your gas pump unattended and an incident occurs, you are 100% legally liable. Bottom line, it is not allowed, but as long as no damage is done, I do not see it being unlawful.

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