The misfuelling prevention device

It’s not the £300 for flushing petrol from the tank

It’s not the £300 for flushing petrol from the tank

It’s missing your flight to that important meeting!

This overseas conference is going to be so much fun, I can hardly wait. Four days at a fantastic hotel complex, with gymnasium, golf course and a few minutes drive to the coast from where we can go sea fishing – that event management company has done a great job.

Run down the checklist – airline tickets, passport, documents for the conference meetings, memory stick with PowerPoint presentation, laptop, suit carrier, smartphone, charger, Jack Higgins and Clive Cussler paperbacks in case there are delays at airports and such and golf clubs.

Now then, I want to write a romantic note that she can find when she returns from work. What should I say? Don’t forget to set the alarm at night and when you go out. I’ve set the hard drive to record the motor racing, cricket, golf, football, Spooks, Downton Abbey, Dragons Den and Eastenders. Hope your meeting went well and train was not too crowded. I’ve taken the diesel estate car for the drive to the airport so remember to fill up with petrol at the fuel station if you decide to go for a spin in the convertible. Hmm, oh yes, I’ve bought you some of that scented oil from Selfridges for the bath, and I’ve booked a table at Purnell’s for when I get back on Friday, love you etc. Good, think that’s about covered everything.

Right, drive to the fuel station to fill up with enough diesel to get to airport car park and back. Here we are then. Wow, most of the pumps are available. Hope she remembers to fill up with petrol if she takes the soft-top out. Couldn’t believe my luck when saleswoman told me that I could get the golf clubs in it. Hang on, did I leave my wallet at home on the breakfast bar? Oh no, I’m using the unleaded fuel pump. Misfuel. I’ve filled up with petrol when it should have been diesel. There I’ve been worrying that she would automatically put diesel in the two-door instead of petrol because she normally drives the estate, or tourer as she likes to call it, and what happens? I put petrol in the diesel estate car instead.

Check-in at the airport is in under two hours and I can’t abandon the car. What will the board say when I fail to arrive for the first meeting and make that PowerPoint presentation that I hoped would lead to the promotion I wanted? How competent will they believe I am given that I put petrol into my diesel fuel tank? Will they think I don’t cope well with pressure and stress? And why did I misfuel? Why didn’t I give myself plenty of time for the journey? I always leave things to the last minute. I could have filled up with fuel last night and picked the diesel pump.

What was I thinking of? Her indoors, as usual. I want the promotion so that we can buy the sort of house I know she secretly wants. Not that much of a secret, though, as she leaves the magazines and Sunday newspaper supplements around, always with that same style of house on view. Subtle, I think not. But she, no, we deserve it.

Sorry? Yes, thank for pointing that out, I know I’ve misfuelled. That’s right, misfuelled. A misfuel is the act of mistakenly putting the wrong fuel into the tank, that is petrol into diesel. What do you mean, diesel into petrol? OK, look, petrol fuel nozzles are small enough to fit the opening of the fuel inlet pipe of a diesel car but the diesel fuel nozzle is too big to fit into a petrol tank inlet pipe. A friend called Jamie told me that there may be a few independent fuel stations with really old petrol and diesel pumps where the nozzles are the same size but that is rare.

I put petrol into my diesel estate car, misfuelling and so risking damage to my engine. Thankfully, I noticed before I turned the ignition on and drove away so all I need is to have the tank flushed out but I have a plane to catch. So, instead of me giving you dictionary definitions of misfuel and misfuelling, why don’t you phone around to find someone with a draining service. No, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was around £300 for flushing the petrol from the tank, I’m more concerned about missing the flight to my important meeting. Thanks.

Now to phone the office and ask about flights and also let the board know that I am unlikely to make the opening session.. Good job I uploaded the presentation as well as saving it to the USB memory stick, so one of the account managers will be able to download it and deliver it on my behalf if I don’t make it in time. You know what? I should have packed less and maybe just taken that Bernard Cornwell book instead of the other paperbacks and then gone to the airport in the petrol convertible. Mind you, I would have worried about leaving the soft top in the car park.

Hello, yes it’s me, I’m going to miss my flights. Could you get me on flights later today? I know it’s a nightmare, but I put petrol in my diesel estate, it’s really daft, can you believe it? You’re kidding, hundreds of thousands of motorists do it? I have heard of a few people doing it but I guess you’re right, why would there be a word for it, misfuelling, if virtually no one did it? This is all very interesting, but what about those flights?