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Breakdown at the gas station: Shell confuses petrol and diesel

Diesel and petrol were swapped at a Shell filling station in Hamburg. Some drivers have filled up with the wrong fuel.

On Thursday (02/09/2023) the Shell filling station in the Alsterkrugchaussee in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel was supplied with fuel. Apparently the tanker driver mixed up the types of fuel when filling the floor tanks. The company spokeswoman Cornelia Wolber confirmed this to t-online. "The cause is still under investigation. As probable, we assume that due to human error, diesel was discharged from the tanker into the floor tank for petrol and gasoline from the tanker into the floor tank for diesel," explains Wolber.

Shell pays for damages

When the mix-up was noticed, the station blocked the affected petrol pumps for diesel, E5 and E10. It is not yet clear how many drivers have unknowingly filled up with the wrong fuel. According to the report, however, some drivers have already reported to the surrounding workshops. Shell assures: "We will compensate vehicle damage caused by the product mixture against appropriate proof."

What happens if you fill up with petrol instead of diesel?

If neither the engine has been started nor the ignition switched on, pumping out the petrol-diesel mixture is sufficient, according to the ADAC. If the engine has been running, it may be necessary to replace the entire injection unit including the high-pressure pump, injectors, fuel line and tank. According to the car club, this can cost several thousand euros.

Even if the engine is still running, the petrol may have washed off the necessary diesel film in the injection system. The final result would be a total loss of the pump. If it is an older diesel vehicle (swirl or pre-chamber diesel), a few liters of petrol in a residual amount of diesel are not harmful.

"There's a widespread misconception that a little petrol in the diesel doesn't hurt, especially in winter. That's no longer the case today," explains the auto club.

What happens if you fill up with diesel instead of petrol?

If you notice the error at the gas station, do not start the engine under any circumstances, nor should the ignition be switched on! Notice the error while driving, stop immediately and turn off the engine.

Depending on the amount of the wrong fuel, you can continue driving, but you should refuel with the right fuel. Pumping may also be necessary. There is a risk of damage to the injection system. You should definitely contact a workshop, advises the ADAC. Basically, the wrong refueling with diesel is rather rare, since the diesel nozzle has a larger diameter than the tank opening of cars with petrol engines. Most diesel models are also equipped with a misfuelling protection.

What happens when you put AdBlue in the diesel tank?

The damage is similar to misfuelling if you have already switched on the engine or the ignition. The aggressive AdBlue acts on hoses and pipes, in addition to cleaning the tank, the fuel pump, all lines and filters must be replaced, as well as injection nozzles and injectors. As a rule, the operating instructions clarify how to proceed, if necessary contact a workshop. If you have noticed the error without having switched on the engine and ignition, pumping out and cleaning the tank is sufficient.

By the way: Here you can check the current fuel prices in your area .

Note d. Red.: The lead image is a symbolic image and does not show the Shell gas station in Hamburg.


Small cause, big effect: A tanker driver probably mixed up the tanks for petrol and diesel at a Shell filling station. Some drivers have probably filled up with the wrong fuel. However, Shell will cover the repair costs.


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