Home Service Oil Company
Home Service Oil Company

Gas Myth: Sugar in the Gas Tank Can Ruin an Engine

February 24, 2022

One of the more popular automobile myths is the sugar in the gas tank prank. While putting sugar in the gas tank won’t ruin your engine, it’s obviously not good and can cause problems. Here’s an in-depth look into the myth itself, its origins, and what will actually happen to your vehicle.

The Urban Legend

As the legend goes, sugar would first dissolve when added to the gas tank. Once the gas reached the engine, the dissolved sugar would caramelize, coating and ruining the engine. Let’s delve into how this myth came to be in the first place.

Where Did This Myth Originate?

Word spread in the 1950s that when someone added sugar to the gas tank, the car would be unable to start. At the time, fuel pumps were mechanical and installed on the bottom of the gas tank. Mechanical fuel pumps work by drawing fuel out from the bottom of the tank with a suction process. Electrical pumps, on the other hand, use a computer system to regulate the flow and pressure of fuel, ensuring the proper amount reaches the engine.

Back then, if sugar were added to the gas tank, it would stay solid, clog the fuel pump, and cause the car to have difficulty starting or running. The mechanic would have to drain the gas tank and clear away this mud-like substance from the tank, fuel pump, and fuel lines. Now, modern vehicles no longer have this particular issue, but sugar does affect the car in another way.

What Will Happen if Sugar Is Put Into My Gas Tank?

In 1994, forensics professor John Thornton from The University of California, Berkeley proved this is a myth. Out of 15 gallons of gas, less than a teaspoon of sugar blended. He concluded that sugar does not dissolve in fuel, doesn’t caramelize, and cannot enter the combustion chamber.

Still, if sugar is in your gas tank, it won’t pass through your fuel filter. This can cause your car to stall until it can’t start. You may need to replace the fuel filter or empty the gas tank should there be sugar inside. Luckily, there won’t be a failed engine here, and Home Service Oil can supply you with all the gas you need.

Ensure Your Vehicle Runs Smoothly With HSO

Home Service Oil can readily meet all your gasoline needs. Our professionally trained personnel supply and even deliver heating oil, diesel fuel, and gas to homes, farms, construction sites, and commercial accounts. If you need more gas for your vehicles, farming equipment, convenience station, or more, schedule a delivery with HSO today!