Around 150,000 drivers make this mistake every year and the recent launch of the E10 petrol has raised concerns amongst some vehicle owners of the compatibility of the new fuel.

But what steps should you take if you put the wrong fuel in your vehicle, and will your car insurance policy cover additional costs?

What to do if you misfuel?

Don’t switch your engine on

If you realise you have put the wrong type of fuel in your car, don't switch the engine on, especially if you've filled a diesel car with petrol. This will help contain the mixed fuel in the tank and stop it from circulating and causing permanent damage to your vehicle

Do tell the petrol attendant

You won’t be the first or last vehicle owner to use the wrong fuel. They may be able to help you to move the car to a safer position to wait for breakdown recovery

Do call your insurer

Your policy may provide cover to pay for the cost of draining your fuel tank or repairing any damage to the engine

Is my car compatible with E10?

Many drivers have raised concerns over compatibility of the new fuel and there will be a small number of older vehicles (including classic cars and some from the early 2000) who will need to continue to use E5 fuel ‘super’ grade (97-octane).

Check if your car is compatible with the new fuel by visiting the Government E10 vehicle checker

Will my car still run if incompatible with E10?

If you put E10 fuel into an incompatible car, it will still run, and you won’t need to drain the petrol tank, but if you keep on using E10 there’s a risk of engine damage over time. Make sure you top up with the correct fuel as soon as possible when a third to half a tank is used.

Owners of classic cars need to be particularly careful not to accidentally fill up with E10 and leave for longer periods, as the damage to seals, plastic and metals could be very expensive to repair.

* John Goodacre is Commercial Director at PIB Insurance Brokers in York.