Gas smell in my 2003 Echo

The above car smells of gas inside the car. I filled it a couple of days ago–the pump ran very slowly so I guess the tank filled though there didn’t seem to be a spill. I also had a small gasoline container in the trunk before this happened, also with no obvious spill. I took it to my Toyota shop and they found nothing wrong–no engine light, no leaks etc., injectors not leaking. We took out the trunk mat. No better. If the car is left closed up for even 10 minutes, the smell returns. Any ideas?

Much Thanks.

Do you get a CEL after filling up?

No CEL, which is a puzzle. I’ve been underneath checking hoses, etc., and there’s no smell there. Nothing in the engine compartment either. This afternoon I’ve pulled everything out of the trunk. I also checked the gas tank sending unit as well as the filler. A real puzzle. I’ll see after about an hour whether taking everything out made a difference. It does seem to be coming from the trunk. Today I sat in the back seat with the other one down and I could smell it coming from that direction. What I think I really need is a hydrocarbon sniffer.


The gas odor coming from the rear sounds to me as though the charcoal canister in the EVAP system is saturated or nearly there.

The CEL usually comes on when it is saturated though.

On my '04 Matrix, it’s located above the rear cross-member near the gas tank.

Canisters get saturated from constant ‘topping up’ of the fuel tank when filling at a gas station.

I’m not saying you have or haven’t, perhaps a previous owner did.

Although, if Toyota put the vehicle up on a hoist to investigate (and they likely did) they should have found something.

I’m leaning toward something like you describe. I tried a test by removing the cap and running the car. No CEL, so maybe there’s something wrong with the computer. I’ve had the car since new and don’t as a rule top it up, but the last time I filled it, just before the smell set in, the pump ran super slow and must have gotten pretty full.

I crawled underneath and smelled around the cannister and the tank–nothing. I am still sold on the idea of having someone with a emissions wand poke around. The independent shop I went to didn’t (they do specialize in Toyotas however.

Thanks for you idea. As I said, I think it will turn out to be something like the cannister or even the cap.