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Fuel Pump Color Confusion

November 28, 2012, 4:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Fuel Pump Color Confusion

Take a look at a GM truck that runs on diesel, and you'll find a green fuel cap.  Open up a diesel from Ford and you'll see the same.  In fact, the same color coding system is used by Dodge.  So when you stop to fuel up a diesel vehicle the handle for the correct fuel is green, right?  Not necessarily.  Most BP stations now use green pumps for gas and that's caused some confusion.

"That's the problem I see is the customer is in a hurry, they just look for green, grab the green handle, go, fill up with gas and the next thing they know their truck doesn't run," mechanic Tom Broadbent said.

Broadbent of Airway Service says he's had many vehicles in the shop lately where drivers have put gas in their diesel tank.  In his most recent case, the customer stopped at a station just off Interstate 90 in Hartford.

KELOLAND News spoke to the manager of the Hartford BP location who says she feels bad for the customer’s problem, but the colors on the handles of the pumps are out of her control; it's a corporate issue. 

BP started making the switch at stations across the country as part of an image campaign years ago. A pump at the Hartford BP station was recently updated, changing the colors. Broadbent says putting gas in a diesel vehicle quickly causes hundreds of dollars of damage.

"If your vehicle stalls, you throw a tow call in and you're into the $300 range real quick," Broadbent said.

Labels do mark BP pump as diesel or gas.  But for Broadbent, he questions why one fuel company has to be different.

"In my opinion, if the car manufacturers are following the green rule for fuel caps on their diesel trucks and most of the signage you see, if they're selling diesel, it's all green, why aren't the handles all green?  And why are they putting green handles on gas, would be my big argument," Broadbent said.

That is why he's urging customers to spend another second or two at the pumps before fueling up.

If you were wondering, the octane for gas is tested and must be marked on a fuel pump.  However, there is no mandatory standard for pump colors.

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