Media Releases

Misfuelling costing Australian motorists $10M a year

Tuesday, 17th Sep 2013

With just over 7,500 misfuelling events of people putting petrol into a diesel car occurring nationally each year, RAA is reminding motorists to pay extra attention at the pump.

RAA Senior Manager Mobility and Automotive Policy, Mark Borlace said in South Australia, almost 600 misfuelling cases of petrol into a diesel car occur each year.

"The most common type of misfuelling is petrol into diesel, which usually results in minor or major repairs being needed," said Mr Borlace.

"Minor repairs usually occur when the driver has realised the misfuelling has happened before starting the vehicle, so a flushing of the fuel system is required and filters usually need to be replaced, which costs $468 on average.

"Major repairs are normally needed if the driver hasn't realised the misfuelling situation and drives the vehicle before experiencing abnormal engine noise and performance."
Misfuelling costs motorists $10.2M nationally per annum.

The associated costs of major repairs required vary significantly between manufacturers, and can be anywhere from $4,000, up to $17,000 for a more expensive vehicle such as a Mercedes Benz.

"The average cost of major repairs is around $7,000, which is obviously a huge concern for affected motorists," said Mr Borlace.

"On average, 83 per cent of vehicles that experience misfuelling require minor repairs, with the remaining 17 per cent needing major repairs.

"Some people may be able to claim for the damage under some insurance policies, but the majority of these costs would be out of pocket for the affected motorists."

To stop misfuelling occurring, you can buy a diesel misfuelling device which prevents you from putting the wrong type of fuel in your car. It provides a physical barrier should someone try to insert a ULP nozzle into the filter tank.

"While diesel into petrol misfuelling is less common, cases do still occur. However, they don't generally cause too many problems as the engine won't run," said Mr Borlace.

"As we've called for many times before, more consistent labelling at the pump by petrol companies is required to minimise any confusion for motorists who may not be filling up at their usual petrol station."

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