Who Should Pay When Filling Up Goes Terribly Wrong?



A few nights ago a tired drive home nearly ended in catastrophe. Not for me, but for the fuel system of my car.

I pulled into the station, popped my fuel door, swiped my card and picked up the handle before I realized it was green. That realization woke me up very quickly, as I uttered a mild profanity and then proceeded to move to another pump, one with the 92 octane my car requires, not the diesel I almost filled it with.

Despite being clearly labeled, and the fact that diesel nozzles are typically larger than those dispensing unleaded gas, people mistakenly fill their cars with the wrong fuel occasionally. Doing so won’t necessarily cause serious damage to the fuel system or engine, but the car won’t start, and the fix could cost a lot of money.

When a moron like me makes that mistake on his own, the cost is an obvious consequence of a bone-headed mistake. But when the mistake is made by a fuel company, who should pay?

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