British motorists are paying out more £60 million a year in wasted fuel, repairs and follow-on costs after mistakenly putting the wrong fuel in their cars at the pump.
As many as 123,000 vehicles a year in the UK suffer a ‘misfuelling mishap’ – in many cases leaving them with a hefty bill from £500 to more than £3,000, according to new figures from Halfords Autocentres/
In the past 12 months a motorist has put the wrong fuel in their car approximately once every 4 minutes.
Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres said: "Our garages see significantly more misfuelling cases during March and September - the peak months for new car purchase - than any other, which is largely made up of new vehicle owners who aren’t yet used to driving a diesel and have consequently made a mistake at the pump.”
The cost of wasted fuel and repairs alone ranges from £200 up to £2,500 in severe cases where rectifying the mistake involves replacing fuel filters, diesel pumps and diesel particulate filters.
However, this can be the tip of the iceberg once roadside recovery or garage call-out fees (£100-150), refilling the tank (£100), not to mention lost work or leisure time, extra transport costs and the inconvenience involved (approx. £150) are added.
Carlin said: “Our advice to any motorist who realises that they have put the wrong fuel in their car at the pump is not to attempt to drive off. If you have already driven away before realising your mistake, stop as soon as it is safe to do so because circulating the incorrect fuel can cause further unnecessary engine damage."
He also recommends putting 'diesel only' stickers in the car to jog the driver's memory.