Research has shown that drivers in the United Kingdom are spending in excess of £150 million on repairs each year after they put the wrong fuel in their cars. The in-depth research found that the total equates to a driver mistakenly putting in either petrol or diesel once every 105 seconds.
The mistakes result in more than 300,000 vehicles a year needing to be repaired because of such errors. The research was carried out by Halfords and they estimate that using the wrong kind of fuel costs the driver anything between £500 and £3,000 to fix the damage to the engine. Halfords are urging drivers to be careful as many motor insurance companies are not paying out for the damage because the error could and should have been avoided. Experts believe that the increase in the number of drivers switching from petrol engines to more fuel-efficient diesel cars has helped to increase the frequency of this costly mistake.
Rory Carlin, a spokesman for Halfords, said “We saw a noticeable increase in misfueling during March and September – the peak months for new car purchase – which could be attributed to new owners. If you put the wrong fuel in the car, do not attempt to drive off as this will circulate it and could cause more unnecessary damage.”
During the last few years there has also been an increase of high-profile cases involving the wrong fuel. One of the most notable happened five months after a fuel tanker driver filled a forecourt unleaded storage tank with diesel. The result was a catastrophe for everyone involved. The owners of the petrol station had to close down while they cleaned the pump and they also had to pay out £18,000 in damages to almost fifty car owners whose vehicles were seriously damaged after they unknowingly filled their cars with the wrong fuel.