ManagEnergy – Renewable Energy

Why Do I Smell Gas on the Street?




man wearing yellow suit and gas mask

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Exposure to gas on the street can be due to a variety of sources, some of which are natural and others that are man-made. Natural causes may include seepage from gas pockets underneath the ground, while man-made causes may be due to leakages in pipelines or pipes connected with gas equipment.

These smell can range from a pungent odor to sweet-smelling fumes, depending on what type of gas is leaking; for example, natural gas will generally have an odorant added in order to alert people if there is a leak. Exposure to these smells can also be caused by nearby factories or other businesses using large amounts of natural gas in their operations.

view of city street
Photo by IKRAM shaari on

It is important to note that only small doses of these gases are considered safe, so if you experience long-term exposure or experience symptoms such as dizziness or headaches, it is important to seek medical advice.

Gas Leaks Can Be Dangerous

If you smell gas on the street, it could indicate a gas leak. Gas leaks can be dangerous and should be reported immediately. Natural gas is odorless, so an odorant is added to help detect leaks. If you smell gas, it is important to follow these steps:

  1. Leave the area immediately: Do not use any electrical switches, light fixtures, or appliances, as these can ignite the gas.
  2. Call the gas company: Report the gas leak to the local gas company or emergency services. Provide your location and any details about the smell or any visible signs of a leak.
  3. Avoid using open flames or creating sparks: Do not smoke, light a match, or use a lighter near the area where you smell gas. Avoid turning on or off lights, using appliances, or starting vehicles near the area.
  4. Stay away from the area: Keep people and pets away from the area until the gas company or emergency services arrive and determine that it is safe to return.

A gas leak can be caused by a variety of factors, including corrosion of gas pipelines, damage to pipelines, or problems with gas appliances. It is important to report gas leaks immediately to prevent potential harm to people and property.

smell gas on street

There are several signs that you may be experiencing a natural gas leak. One of the most common is a smell that resembles rotten eggs.

This is actually an odor additive added to natural gas to alert people of potential leaks. Mercaptan has a sulfur-like smell, which is familiar to many people and is easily detectable by a normal sense of smell.

1. It Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If you smell gas on the street, it could be a sign of a serious problem in your home. It can be the result of a natural gas leak or it can be sewer gas that is escaping your home’s plumbing.

It can also signify that you have toxic drywall in your home. Sulfur in toxic drywall can irritate your lungs, cause respiratory problems and corrode copper pipes or wiring.

Thankfully, a lot of the time it is a simple fix that won’t require calling a plumber to come out and do work. Simply run some water in your sink or tub for ten minutes to block the sewer gas from returning to your home.

Interestingly, it’s been found that foods that contain hydrogen sulfides such as meat, eggs and dairy can produce the smelly farts. This is because these foods have sulfurous compounds that are absorbed by your body and then broken down by bacteria in your gut, says gastroenterologist Kenneth Josovitz with Gastro Health.

2. It Smells Like Gasoline

If your car or truck smells like gasoline on the street, it’s likely due to one of a number of issues. Gasoline vapors aren’t good for you to breathe, and they can be toxic in high concentrations.

A missing or faulty oil cap is also a common culprit. It can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and death, so make sure it’s replaced as soon as possible.

The odor usually goes away after you drive for a bit. But if it doesn’t, you might have stepped in a small puddle of spilled gas.

Another possibility is that you spilled a little gas while refueling your vehicle or if you left the gas cap on your vehicle and it’s unsecured. It’s easy to forget to put the cap back on after filling up, so check it now!

If you’re unsure of the source of your car or truck’s gasoline odor, bring it to NAPA AutoCare Center and let us help you. We’ll work with you to pinpoint the problem and quickly get your vehicle up and running again.

3. It Smells Like Sewage

Sewer gas smells are a byproduct of the breakdown of waste in sewers. This process releases a variety of gases, some of which are toxic to human health.

These are hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and methane. They can be toxic to the oxygen system of your body, which could cause adverse symptoms or organ damage.

They also can be flammable. This makes sewer gas a fire hazard.

houses near dirty river
Photo by Tom Fisk on

A sewer smell can be very unpleasant and you should take action if you start to notice it. Call a plumber right away to get the problem addressed.

Sometimes sewage smells are easily remedied. But, if it continues to persist you may have a serious leak in your plumbing system. If so, you need to get the situation corrected as soon as possible to avoid long-term health problems and a fire.

4. It Smells Like Gas

Natural gas and liquid propane, which are used to power many household appliances, are odorless. However, to make it easier to detect a leak, we add an organic compound called mercaptan that gives the gas a distinctive odor.

Mercaptan smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, which is a recognizable scent. This is why it’s important to be aware of your sense of smell when you’re outdoors or near a potential gas leak in your home.

In addition, if you’re outside and notice bubbles forming in wet areas such as your yard or on the floor of your garage, it could mean there is a gas leak in your outdoor pipeline.

If you smell a gas odor on the street, call your local gas company immediately to get help. It is also a good idea to schedule yearly inspections of your pipelines to avoid a potentially dangerous gas leak situation. If you’re a homeowner, consider asking your local gas provider if they offer free inspections of your pipework.

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