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Misfuelling by Pressured Drivers Adding Cost Burden to Businesses, says AA

Increasing pressure on distracted and preoccupied business drivers is creating an additional misfuelling cost burden for business owners and managers, says the AA.

Data from November 2017 revealed that nearly 60% of the AA’s Fuel Assist service call-outs came from the AA’s business customers, who put the wrong fuel in company-owned vehicles when under stress or in an unfamiliar location, in comparison with 41% of consumers.

Approximately 133,000 people fill their car with the wrong fuel each year, according to the AA. A quarter of these drivers attribute their mistake to being preoccupied, 13% on driving a new car that used a different fuel, 12% on driving a partner’s vehicle, 11% on using a hire car, 9% on filling up at an unfamiliar petrol station, and 7% on distraction while fuelling.*

These factors are especially applicable to drivers of company-owned or operational vehicles, who may be rushing between appointments to deliver goods or to secure business sales, and to those using a pool car, for whom the fuel type of the loan vehicle may differ from their own. Business drivers tend to cover longer distances than the general motorist and are more likely to use a wide range of filling stations across unfamiliar driving routes.

Misfuelling can prove a costly mistake for drivers. West Midlands Police recently disclosed nearly 300 incidents of misfuelling in 2017, costing more than £53,000 in repairs. The AA’s own data also shows that a refuelling mishap occurs once every three minutes across the UK’s petrol pumps, with the error costing drivers between £500 and £3,000.

The AA’s Fuel Assist service helps drivers who have been caught out at the pump to resolve both petrol-in-diesel and diesel-in-petrol situations. The AA will drain, flush and replenish fuel systems on the spot and aims to get drivers back on the road within two hours.

“Misfuelling can potentially costs businesses thousands of pounds in repair costs, not to mention time in lost revenue while drivers wait for their vehicle to be fixed,” said Donald MacSporran, director, manufacturer services at the AA.

“In the event of a misfuelling incident, drivers should call the AA as soon as they realise their mistake,” MacSporran concludes. “Don’t start your car – you may damage the engine.”

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To find out more about the AA’s services for businesses, visit       

*September 2016

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