Petrol service stations will have to comply with new EU regulations coming in next year requiring pumps to give out fuel to the exact pound and penny drivers want to put into their tanks. Drivers will have to tap in the exact amount they want to buy BEFORE pressing the nozzles to activate the flow of fuel from the pumps into the tanks of their vehicles.
Most petrol and diesel pumps being used in Britain today simply roll up the amount of petrol flowing out from them until drivers stop pressing the triggers of the nozzles. This has often led to drivers seeing the pumps going a penny or two over the amount they'd intended to put into their tanks.
"Drivers are not being charged for more fuel than they've taken" said EU spokeswoman Ms.Petra Van de Carr, "but drivers who'd intended to buy perhaps ten pounds worth of petrol are then often finding when going to replace the nozzles that the pumps have rolled over that figure to show an extra penny or two."
Most drivers will have experienced this annoyance. It is after all difficult to justify how over forty years after man walked on the moon drivers are still unable to stipulate how much petrol they want to have from the pumps before squeezing the trigger of the nozzle. Drivers going to pay for their fuel at the booths in the garage shops will either take ages trying to find the extra penny in their pockets, or as is often the case, the person behind counter will simply let them off and not charge for the extra amount of fuel the customer has taken. This has resulted in many service stations closing down says Ms. Van de Carr.
Ms. Van de Carr also points out that a year or two ago this was usually accidental on the part of drivers, but that nowadays there is a suspicion that with the rising price of petrol more and more drivers are deliberately allowing the pumps to go a penny over an exact pound in the belief they will end up getting a small amount of free petrol.
Though there is concern that the cost to garages of buying and installing the new pumps will then be passed on to drivers, Ms. Van de Carr says the EU only passed the new rule after deciding that was unlikely to happen.
"The new pumps will mean that drivers will no longer be searching in their pockets for the odd penny, and will mean staff won't have to keep searching through their tills for 99p. change.This will give them more time to serve customers who are queuing up to pay for the piles of extortionately priced sweets and soft drinks under their arms".
Quite so - in fact drivers often find themselves lining up waiting to pay for their petrol behind long queues of people who haven't put any petrol into their tanks at all!