Petrol and Diesel

Listed below are some of the problems that can arise when buying petrol or diesel motor fuel from a filling station.

Short measure

Although petrol and diesel pumps are checked for accuracy, faults can develop at any time. If you think you have paid for more fuel than you actually receive from the pump i.e. a short measure, you should contact Trading Standards Service via Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or visit:

Laundered fuel

Mistakenly filling your car with the wrong fuel can cause damage to your engine.

Engine damage can also occur as a result of using petrol or diesel that has been tampered with, usually by adding chemicals to change the fuel’s colour, e.g. to change red diesel into clear diesel. This process is known as laundering and it is the chemicals used in the process that can harm a vehicle’s engine.

If you think your car has suffered engine damage as a result of unwittingly filling up on laundered petrol or diesel, you will have to take legal action yourself against the filling station that you suspect sold you the fuel. However, it can be difficult to prove that the engine damage was due to fuel from a particular filling station. Before you consider any such action, you should get the fuel tested to see if it has been tampered with. There are a number of independent testing facilities that can be found online.

If you suspect a filling station of selling laundered fuel, you should also report your suspicions to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on 0800 788 887.

Smuggled fuel

Petrol and diesel may be smuggled to avoid excise duties. If you suspect fuel has been smuggled contact HMRC on 0800 788 887.


The law says that the price of petrol and diesel must be displayed. It does not have to be displayed on the roadside but most filling stations do show it there anyway. If you find that you were charged more than the price displayed, you should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or visit: as it is a criminal offence to display misleading pricing information.

The Consumer Council has developed a Fuel Price Checker Tool that will enable you to compare fuel prices across Northern Ireland. The tool can be found here: