Every year over the summer, we seem to get a rise in the number of wrong fuel cases that we attend involving foreign visitors to the UK. Conversely, we have also heard many a tale from UK holiday makers abroad who have filled up a hire car with petrol instead of diesel. The culprit? Fuel nozzle colours.
In the UK the standard colours for fuel nozzles are green for unleaded petrol and black for diesel and the vast majority of fuel stations seem to adhere to this standard. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that all of them do and we have attended a number of wrong fuel incidents where the mistake has been made because all the fuel nozzles are black and, even though the pumps are labelled correctly, it only takes a momentary lapse of concentration and an assumption that the fuel nozzle colour standard applies here too and everything goes pear shaped.
Fuel nozzle colour standards are different for most foreign countries and are not a legal requirement, so it is easy to see how the wrong fuel mistake can be made by foreign visitors. In the U.S.A. for example, many diesel fuel nozzles are yellow and in Europe and many other countries, the diesel fuel nozzle can be blue.
There can also be a variation in the colour of fuel nozzles for 95 and 98 octane unleaded fuel, leading to further confusion.
The ultimate answer is that there is no substitution for reading the label on the pump to be absolutely sure that you’re not filling up with the wrong fuel, and if you are having difficulty understanding the pump label, there should either be a sticker inside the fuel aperture flap to help or you could ask the forecourt attendant.
Be vigilant when filling up your hire car and have a great holiday whether you’re visiting the UK or going overseas!