I know gas prices are high. I don’t drive and even I have noticed it’s damn expensive to fill up at the pump these days. These are desperate times, and you might be tempted to get creative to save yourself some money to get where you need to be. But these desperate measures are guaranteed not to work.
I have to say, filling a tank as Twitter user @spaceeong suggests doesn’t sound like a terrible idea. That McDonald’s Sprite is crisp in a way that’s uncommon to fountain drinks, and the first sip contains such power that the internet has been asking for years how McDonald’s does it. Though McDonald’s has offered some explanations as to why its fountain drinks taste better (wider straws and better temp control), we have all come to the consensus that McDonald’s soda is just built different, whether by science or some other power.
And because of this extra power boost, we can’t fault people for wanting to pour it into the gas tank and see what happens. Why wouldn’t a large cup of fizzy drink send your car into hyperspeed the way it sends your taste buds into a new dimension?
But before you start ordering dozens of large drinks from the golden arches (significantly cheaper than unleaded gasoline at the moment), you might want to check the science behind why The Coca-Cola Company doesn’t operate gas stations nationwide.
Why soda is bad for your gas tank
Surprisingly, it’s not the sugar in soda that will prevent your car from making it down the street with a tank full of Sprite. Snopes previously debunked the myth that putting sugar in someone’s gas tank will ruin the car’s engine. As cars tend to have filtration systems in place, it’s unlikely that even a heavy amount of sugar would reach the engine. Instead, the car’s fuel filter would become clogged and would cause it to stop working.
The main issue with filling your gas tank with soda is that it’s a foreign substance. The gas tank is a gas tank for a reason. Your car’s engine and fuel system were not meant to process a carbonated, syrupy beverage, no matter how damn refreshing it is.
Back in 2017, a Youtube video from TechRax showed the gas tank of a 2003 BMW 325i wagon being filled with Coke before driving the car. Spoiler: the car does not make it out of this experiment alive. About 60 seconds into driving, the BMW starts to make odd noises and the service engine light comes on. By the end of the video, the driver has to push the car to a mechanic, where the final verdict is: this idiot put soda in a gas tank.
Perhaps the real problem is that the Coke in the YouTube video came from a bottle and not from the fountain of youth at McDonald’s. With gas prices now hovering above $5 a gallon, would you risk your gas tank on this experiment?