After the Department of Transport changed labels for the different types of fuel at fuel pumps, there is a little bit of confusion prevailing. While the fuel is the same, the label is new, and some are not familiar with it.
Previously known as “unleaded”, petrol is now tagged “E5” and “diesel” is tagged “B7”. Sounds simple enough, but initially it is very easy for motorists to get the two mixed up. So, what happens if you accidentally fill your tank up with the wrong fuel?
First of all, whatever you do, do not start your vehicle! There is a fix.
If you have a diesel engine and you fill it up with petrol accidentally, here is what happens. Diesel itself acts as a lubricant that helps the fuel pump and other parts function properly. Petrol, on the other hand, is a solvent and has an adverse effect on the fuel pump when mixed with diesel. Mixing petrol with existing diesel in your pump can cause extensive damage to your engine- if you turn the car on!
Fewer people are likely to put diesel in a car on petrol because the fuel pump nozzle is of a different shape and size. If you put diesel in a petrol car, you aren’t likely to cause a lot of damage. You probably will not be able to start the engine at all.
Either way, how do you fix the situation?
To begin with, we reiterate, do not start the car. The second step you must take is informing the workers at the fuel pump what has happened. Set the car in neutral gear and push it to a place where it isn’t interfering with traffic. Consult with your insurance company, especially if you have breakdown cover.
Your insurance company will send someone over to drain the fuel from your car, flush it out and then help you fill the tank up with the correct fuel. It may involve a bit of an extra charge, though. Nearby mechanics and other car service providers may provide the same facility.
If you accidentally keep going with the wrong fuel in your car, your car will automatically stop at some point during your journey.
Hence, it is best to be extra careful.
How can we tell E5 and B7 apart?
In order to differentiate, you should look at the shape next to the label. If you see a circle, that’s petrol. If you see a square, that is diesel. Easy enough?
E5 means 5% ethanol and B7 means 7% of biodiesel, each a renewable resource. However, the shapes are the easiest way to memorize which one is which and which needs to go in your car.
The UK government also plans on extending the labelling to car fuel tanks by next year, in 2020. However, until they do so, it is the responsibility of the motorist to ensure he/she does not get confused.
You might also want to add a fuel cap to diesel cars in order to prevent accidentally filling up with petrol. The minute you try, you won’t be able to as the nozzle won’t fit and this way, you could be saved alot of trouble.
Fill up and drive safe!