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Abstract:This paper considers a generalization of the Path Finding (PF) with refueling constraints referred to as the Refuelling Path Finding (RF-PF) problem. Just like PF, the RF-PF problem is defined over a graph, where vertices are gas stations with known fuel prices, and edge costs depend on the gas consumption between the corresponding vertices. RF-PF seeks a minimum-cost path from the start to the goal vertex for a robot with a limited gas tank and a limited number of refuelling stops. While RF-PF is polynomial-time solvable, it remains a challenge to quickly compute an optimal solution in practice since the robot needs to simultaneously determine the path, where to make the stops, and the amount to refuel at each stop. This paper develops a heuristic search algorithm called Refuel A* (RF-A* ) that iteratively constructs partial solution paths from the start to the goal guided by a heuristic function while leveraging dominance rules for state pruning during planning. RF-A* is guaranteed to find an optimal solution and runs more than an order of magnitude faster than the existing state of the art (a polynomial time algorithm) when tested in large city maps with hundreds of gas stations.