Why do Esso pumps hate me so?

Gas Station in the winterSo it seems when the temperature outside drops below freezing, that the gas pumps at any Esso gas station start acting really funny… Normally I can fill up my 2008 Ford Escape by just inserting the fuel nozzle and squeezing the handle all the way up, but not when it’s cold.

I’m going to back track a step here, so you understand why I prefer to fill up at Esso. I travel back and forth for work, close to 200km daily, and with the small fuel tank on the Escape, I end up having to fill up every 2 days, though I could do every 2 1/2, I don’t. I have found that filling up in Fredericton to be the first step in saving some money, as they have a Costco that has a gas bar that helps keep gas ~8-10 cents cheaper then the Saint John area, and I also have a SpeedPass, which at most stations will save me an additional 3.5 cents per litre.

Now back to the good part…  When it’s cold, if I squeeze the handle to full throttle, the pump will shut off, much like it does when it detects or thinks that your tank is almost full. So I will try again a few times and it will do it again, this does not make me a happy person when it’s minus 15 without the wind chill. I end up having to barely squeeze the handle, to the point that the gas is flowing so slowly that it takes almost 15 minutes to put 50 litres into my tank.

So, being the intelligent person that I am, I decided to do some experimenting.. I have filled up using 4 different pumps at the Smythe Street Esso in Fredericton, 1 pump at the Scholten’s in Grand Bay and 1 pump at the Esso just off the highway in Oromocto to see if I would get any varying results… nope. Next stop will be to try a different brand all together, as long as it is not Irving, I suspect that 10% ethanol isn’t the only crap they are adding to their fuel. Post that, I may have to consider the issue being the Escape.. but I’ll look at that pending more testing.