RAA: Misfuelling proving to be a costly error

A recent report from the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) has highlighted the importance of driver education in every fleet management program.

The RAA claimed that there are over 7,500 incidents of misfuelling - that is, putting petrol in a diesel car - in Australia every year, costing these motorists a staggering $10 million every year.

The cost of repair can be minor or major, depending on when the driver reacts to the incident, according to the RAA.

For example, if the driver realises the mistake and doesn't start the engine at all, a flushing of the fuel system and some filter replacements will be needed, which usually costs just under $500.

However, should they drive the vehicle after misfuelling, more significant and costly repairs are required.

This is because the engine needs to be completely overhauled, or even replaced in worst case scenarios. The driver is unlikely to be covered by insurance either.

RAA Senior Manager Mobility and Automotive Policy Mark Borlace said that the huge costs involved with misfuelling cannot be ignored.

"The average cost of major repairs is around $7,000, which is obviously a huge concern for affected motorists," he said in a September 17 media release.

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

As a fleet manager, you can implement some basic practices to ensure your staff doesn't make this avoidable incident.

A driver education program than reminds your staff about the importance of paying proper attention when fuelling up, and the consequences of putting in the wrong fuel, can help prevent them incurring any unnecessary costs.

You can also make sure your drivers are well aware of which vehicles in your fleet are diesel, for example by alerting your staff of any new vehicles and with the use of clear labelling.