We have a Passat estate which runs on diesel and which we try not to use much. It is very economical on long runs, like going abroad on holiday or going to Scotland, but not so much on short trips. So normally we put £10-20 of fuel in it and then run it until the fuel gauge says EMPTY.
Well, on Saturday, the fuel gauge had been saying EMPTY for a few days and I offered to go to the garage and put £10 worth of fuel in it. Having very carefully researched which was the cheapest garage I drove with a light touch on the accelerator just in case I might run out of fuel on the way there. I had to wait whilst I was there and by the time I got to the pump was in a bit of a dream. I unhooked the unleaded pump and commenced filling the car. Now, if I had tried to put the wrong fuel in a car which took unleaded petrol using the wrong fuel pump would have meant that the nozzle did not fit in the tank. What I did not know was that this is not the case with diesel cars !
By the time I realised what I had done there was already 1.16 litres of unleaded petrol in the car. Now I was faced with a dilemma. Call someone to get the fuel emptied out of the tank or do something else. I knew that I would have to turn the engine on to move the car out of the way of the forecourt whilst I waited for someone to come. Turning on the engine would mean disaster as there was so little fuel in the car the unleaded petrol would immediately enter the system and ruin the engine creating a massive repair bill. So I decided to risk doing something else. I filled the car up with as much as diesel as I could squeeze in hoping to dilute the effect of the unleaded petrol.
It worked ! I put in just over 65 litres of diesel , diluting the unleaded fuel down to a ratio of about 1:65. I drove the car home with no ill effects. Apparently, most diesel cars can tolerate about 5% petrol in the engine and as long as we keep topping up with diesel to further dilute the petrol the car should be alright !
Emptying the fuel out would have cost around £100 and I don't know how I would have moved the car to wait. So I think this was a definite frugal win, even though the fuel budget for the month is now well overdrawn as I had to put £70 worth of diesel in the car ! I am just so glad that the car seems alright !