Asking for gas money can have two reasons. You’re either the driver of other people and want to share costs or you run out of gas and forgot your wallet.
It’s not rude to ask for gas money if it’s done in the right way.
If you want to split costs for a drive with a group of people you have to tell them in advance and also explain your reasons for doing so. If they don’t accept, you’re free to cancel your offer to drive.
And how can you politely ask for gas money when you forgot your money? It’s simple: You have to explain your situation, ask for the bare minimum you need, and repay that act of kindness (or promise to do it in the future) somehow.
If you’re feeling nervous or anxious about asking for gas money, don’t worry! We’ll explain why that is not a bad thing to do and how to do it the right way in various situations!
What to keep in mind when you’re asking for gas money
- Be honest: There’s no need to lie about why you’re asking for money. If you want to be polite about something, you need to be honest about it. Keep in mind people are always more willing to help you if they sense you’re a sincere person.
- Set boundaries: Sometimes, you don’t ask for money out of necessity. If you’re in charge of driving one person or multiple people somewhere, you might have to ask for money to do so. You have to be okay to cancel if people are expecting a free ride. Always do so politely and courteously.
- If possible, do it beforehand: When you ask for gas money, do so before you start driving or face an empty gas tank. That way, you can figure out what your next steps are going to be, no matter if you get the money or not.
- Keep your cool: Sometimes, people are going to refuse to give you gas money. And that’s okay. Being polite isn’t about getting your way; it’s about doing things in a civilized manner. When someone refuses to give you gas money, thank them anyway, and be on your way.
How to politely ask for gas money
To a friend or a family member
Asking for gas money from a friend or family member is far from difficult. You can probably do so without giving it much thought – but remember not to do it too often.
Asking once or twice is okay; doing so multiple times will be rude, no matter how you say it.
With that in mind, keep things simple when you ask for gas money.
“Hey, do you have a couple of dollars to spare? I’m a little short today, and I need some gas. I’ll pay you back as soon as possible.”
To a coworker
Most people commute to work. And if you do too, that’s great! Unless you’re the one driving all the time and nobody gives you gas money.
If you’re driving your coworkers to the office, you need to ask them for gas money. You can also bring up other ideas different from gas money, such as taking turns to drive.
“Guys, I have no problem driving to the office, but I need to ask you all to chip in to cover gas expenses.”
If you want to bring up other alternatives, you can say:
“We can also take turns driving different cars to the office instead.”
Finally, if your coworkers refuse to give you gas money, you need to explain to them why you’re no longer able to commute to work. Do so politely as well; something along the lines of:
“I can understand why you don’t want to split the gas expenses. At the same time, I hope you can understand why I’m no longer going to commute to work.”
To someone, you’re traveling with
This scenario applies to people who are traveling anywhere that might be far away. In that scenario, gas money becomes an important subject.
Keep in mind you can’t ask for gas money after you drove. You should arrange everything a day or a week before the drive happens.
“Since we’re traveling to a place a couple of hours away from here, I think we should split the gas money equally. Is that okay with you?”
To a stranger
Asking for something from a stranger can be a tricky thing.
First of all, you don’t know that person at all: you have no idea if he’s in a good mood, if he has money in his wallet, or if he’s going through some trouble. For that reason, be twice as careful.
Make sure you approach slowly and carefully. When you’re in his range of vision, calmly explain your situation.
“Excuse me, sir. I know this may sound a little odd, but I don’t have enough money to drive home. Could you spare $5? I understand if you cannot do so.”
Is it rude to ask for gas money?
Absolutely not – as long as you do it the right way. There are ways to ask for gas money the wrong way; unfortunately, sometimes we don’t realize when we’re rude!
The key to not being rude when you ask for gas money is to avoid demanding what you want.
You have to treat this situation the same way you would when you ask a favor: you hope someone helps you, but it’s okay if they don’t.
For example, let’s say you’re asking a stranger for money at the gas station:
The right way to do it would be:
“Excuse me, I don’t have my wallet with me, and I’m a little short on gas. Could you spare ten dollars for me to get home?”
The wrong way to do it would be:
“Give me ten dollars for gas money. Come on, hurry up!”
The difference lies in how you ask for it. It’s rude to demand things. If you want to be polite, you must ask nicely – and explain why you’re doing it.
And the same rules apply if you’re asking someone you know or if you’re driving someone else someplace. For example, if you’re traveling with a friend to a wedding out of state, explain that you feel you both need to share expenses. Don’t demand the money; explain the situation.
How much gas money should you ask for?
Broadly speaking, there are two scenarios where you might find yourself asking for gas money. The amount of money you can ask (while being polite) depends on those two scenarios.
When you’re driving someone else
If you’re driving someone else someplace, you need to figure out how long the drive is going to be, how often you will drive with someone else, and if it’s worth asking for money.
For example, let’s say you’re driving a friend home one time. If that’s not a regular part of your routine, there’s no way to politely ask for money. If you decide to ask anyway, you might sound rude.
On the other hand, if you’re driving someone to a wedding and it’s far away, even though it’s a one-time thing, you can ask for gas money. Remember to do it before you’re driving. Let everyone know you’re the one that’s driving – but everyone else has to help with gas money.
Finally, if it’s a day-to-day thing, such as commuting with co-workers, you need to set up boundaries. The right way to do it is to talk to everyone involved; that way, you all will decide how much money everyone is paying and how often. Otherwise, you need to explain that you cannot afford that much money, and commuting is no longer taking place.
When you’re out of money and out of gas
In this scenario, the answer is simple. You need to ask for the bare minimum.
Whether you’re dealing with family, friends, or strangers, it doesn’t matter. If you’re out of gas, you need to ask for enough money to get home.
Don’t ask for more than enough money so you can drive around later that day or that week. That’s a rude and disrespectful thing to do.
How can I repay the favor after someone gives me gas money?
Depending on the situation, you may or may not have to pay the money back.
For example, if four people were driving somewhere and you all agreed to pitch in for gas money, that’s the end of it.
On the other hand, if someone helped you by giving you gas money, you have to figure out whether you should pay it back with cash or kindness.
Let’s say that a friend gave you $10 for gas money. You can (and should) pay him back. If he doesn’t want the money back, you can pay him back some other way.
In that scenario, a simple gift would be enough. Whatever you buy shouldn’t be exactly as expensive as the money that person gave you. Instead, it should show gratitude for that previous act of kindness. If your friend loves chocolate, a little chocolate bar will do.
As long as you’re as polite and respectful as when you asked for money, there will be no trouble in paying it back the same way.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.