posted 4 months ago

£400K To Fix Patrol Cars Police Filled With Wrong Fuel

Police forces that spent the most money fixing wrongly fuelled vehicles revealed; and how to avoid following suit.

Police responsible for 2,000+ fuel errors in 5 years

UK police spent hundreds of thousands of pounds fixing patrol vehicles that officers filled with the wrong type of fuel, Auto Express confirmed. The police fell foul on 2,147 occasions between 2011 and 2015 – which is equivalent to more than once per-day – and such errors cost £390,061 to correct. The average fix cost £181.68.

The Metropolitan Police spent the most money correcting its mishaps, at £167,118. To be fair though, it has a large fleet of cars and purchased the most fuel. The Metropolitan Police was followed in the top 5 by officers in: Kent (£25,629), Derbyshire (£16,078), Hampshire (£14,070) and then Devon & Cornwall (£13,118). 

wrong fuel

In contrast, some forces had no such issues thanks to their own, bunkered, fuel sites that minimised risk. Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland Police, for example. Every car had a pre-programmed key which only enabled the correct fuel to be dispensed. 

wrong fuel

AA Spokesman, Luke Bosdet, said that police misfuelling errors represent only a fraction of the 150,000 cases per-year. He said: “It’s an annoying and avoidable mistake that will take a vehicle off the road and place an extra burden on stretched resources. He added: “But it shows that officers are human; like the rest of us.” 

How to avoid putting the wrong fuel in vehicles

The AA further explained that someone puts petrol in a diesel powered vehicle – or diesel in a petrol powered vehicle – every 3 and a half minutes. It therefore has various tips to minimise risk.

  • “Do not rely on the colour of the hose or nozzle. Check the label on the pump trigger and the fuel grade indicator on the pump.
  • While you are getting used to a new car, or a hire car, leave yourself reminders that it is different to your usual car.
  • Keep your concentration at the fuel pump. It is not a good time to get distracted.
  • Try not to refuel when you are in a hurry or stressed.
  • If you drive a diesel car and are worried about misfuelling, you can buy a device that fits into your filler neck to prevent you inserting the narrower petrol nozzle.”

Should a vehicle be filled with the wrong type of fuel, it is important not to start the engine. Doing so pumps fuel throughout the vehicle – which can be damaging - rather than containing it in the tank. Contact a breakdown specialist that will either remove the incorrect fuel at the roadside, or recover the car to a garage.