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there is a opening somewhere under your hood in the area of the blower motor casing that is causing the smell. it is highly unlikely but possible that you have an oil leak but i dont think you have a gas leak. get it checked anyway to be safe. good luck
has they're been a significant temp change? when it gets cold out cars use more gas. other than that i would check the fuel pressure regulator on the fuel rail. pull the vacuum line off of it and smell for gas smell if it smells like gas its bad.
I get about 15 MPG in my 97 but I have a V-8. A V-6 should get a bit better than that. The smell in your airvent could also be mold. It is nearly impossible to get smells out of the vents but you could always take it apart and clean it with bleach.
It's most likely the fuel pressure regulator. Does it start hard when the engine is warm, after you let it sit about 10-15 minutes? Poor gas mileage? It's about a $70 part and should be fairly easy to change.
That is the area the air conditioner vent drains. There aren't a lot of fluids possible - coolant, power steering fluid and transmission fluid are the only ones that would be in that position unless your windshield washer fluid leaks from the tubing. Brake fluid would be closer to the wheels. If the air conditioner runs at all it removes moisture from the passenger compartment and drains near the passenger side firewall. All the other fluids would hae a definite smell.
The charcoal filter is used to filter fumes from the fuel tank. There is a vent line, that comes from your fuel tank to this filter. (Charcoal canister)
Now since the charcoal filter has been completely soaked with gasoline, it will no longer function as it should. Even with vapors from the fuel tank vent line, the canister only has a working 'life' of so far. You will smell gasoline in strong amounts until it is replaced.
Can't comment whether it is safe or not. (In my thinking, you are driving around with a charcoal canister, that has a charcoal filter soaked with gasoline. I wouldn't use it this way, but that is just my thoughts)
If the ABS lights stays on it means the computer has detected a problem in the anti lock brake system and has shut it off until it is repaired. You still have your regular brakes, just not the ABS parts. Could the smell be exhaust gas?