Tag Archives: wrong fuel

Fuel forecourt fiascos: female vs male drivers

Motorist filling up - close upI’m not at all surprised that men are more likely than women to run out of fuel and to fill up with the wrong sort.

We hear of this happening a lot so if you were to put the wrong fuel ie petrol in a diesel car here is some useful information to help you know what is the best thing to do.

Fuelling the battle of the sexes?

When it comes to the battle of the sexes there are two motoring awards that few men want to win, namely that of running out of fuel and putting the wrong type of fuel in their car.

Yet one in five (23%) – or an estimated 6.6m – UK motorists* admit to having run out of fuel at least once and more than a fifth (ie 22%) more men than women say they have fallen foul of an empty tank.

Of those who were left high and dry after ‘playing fuel roulette’ and losing, the majority ie 61% were men.

Happily, three quarters of us all claim never to have been caught out here, yet once again men are likely to be repeat offenders even if the statistics are small – 6% of men have run out of fuel more than once compared to 4%.

Not just that but research from the RAC** reveals that men are more likely than women to put the wrong type of fuel into their tank on a forecourt with 13% of men saying they have done so in contrast to 8% of women.

Just for the record, last year the RAC dealt with more than 22,000 ‘out of fuel’ incidents and a further 30,000 ‘misfuellings’ on average.

The ‘fuelish’ gender risk

Why do men seem to relish risking running out of fuel more than women? Why are they more likely to fill up with the wrong stuff? Maybe it’s down to their testosterone levels, a strong sense of misplaced confidence (I’m sure I can make it to the next forecourt) or their much reported inability to multi-task (such as adding fuel whilst thinking)? Only joking about the last one guys ;).

One thing is for certain, the number of ‘running out of fuel’ incidents increases when fuel prices are rising, suggesting that too many motorists are trying to make it to the nearest filling station with the lowest prices, regardless of gender.

RAC Technical Director David Bizley reminds us that running out of fuel and misfuelling can be seriously more ‘costly’ mistake to make in the end.

“Running out of fuel can result in motorists being stranded in dangerous places on the road and misfuelling can be very expensive, particularly if a vehicle suffers damage as a result of the wrong fuel being sent around the system.

“More than one in 10 people surveyed say they have run out of fuel on the motorway, putting themselves in a very dangerous situation unnecessarily.

“The best advice is always to ensure you have the right amount of fuel for the journey ahead. If you are on a long motorway journey, it’s a good idea to fill up at the nearest services, rather than risking waiting for the one after, running out completely and ruining your journey.”

Personally I can’t understand why anyone risks running out of fuel. Why not fill up at the right price when the vehicle is half full, not nearly empty? No difference to my fuel bills, just my peace of mind and potentially my road safety too as worrying about fuel levels is bound to affect my driving concentration.


*The one in five (23%) figure based on number of people who admit to running out of fuel once or more has then been extrapolated and based on 29.1m UK drivers (Vehicle Licensing Statistics 2013).

**This research was carried out among 1,463 UK drivers as part of a bespoke RAC Opinion Panel during May 2014.