How Do I Put Fuel In My Car: I Passed My Driving Test!

how to fuel your car - petrol station

So, you’ve recently passed your driving test and have gotten into your first car! There comes a time where you’ll need to put fuel into your car.

Putting fuel into your car for the very first time might (for some) be a challenging and often scary process, even for us more experienced drivers.

So you’re not alone.

We all once passed our driving test and turned up to a petrol station and wondered the following:

  • Will I put the wrong fuel into my car?
  • How do I open the fuel filler cap as I’ve never done this before!
  • What will happen if I’m not fast enough, or if I spill the fuel…

The list goes on – so let me help put your mind at rest and give you some tips for putting fuel into your car for the very first time.

Firstly, Find A Petrol Station Near You

The obvious step to putting fuel into your car is to actually find a petrol station right? You might’ve driven past a few in your local area whilst taking your driving test or driving lessons but were focusing on the test or lesson at hand.

Petrol stations are located pretty much everywhere, you’ll find a petrol station in cities, towns, rural areas and on motorways.

Petrol stations (like most things) tend to have different brands, or, names if you will, for instance:

  • Apple Green
  • BP
  • Shell

And supermarkets have petrol stations as well…

  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Sainsbury’s

And many more…

Odd Question: But Do Petrol Stations Only Sell Petrol?

You might be wondering…

Do petrol stations sell more than petrol? And, surprise, surprise…


They do, the more common fuel types that you’ll find at a petrol station tend to include (but aren’t limited to)

  • Unleaded (Petrol)
  • Super Unleaded (Petrol)
  • Premium Unleaded (Petrol)
  • Diesel (Black)
  • Premium Diesel (Black)
  • LPG

And whilst petrol stations will sell many types of fuel, your car will only take one type of fuel, either one of the above.

If you’re not sure whether your car is a petrol or a diesel car, check with the car dealer or in the owner’s handbook, this can be found typically inside of the passenger’s glove box.

Where Does The Fuel Actually Go?

After locating a petrol station to put fuel into your car, you’ll want to pull up to either the left, or right side of the petrol pump.

They’ll be located on both sides of a petrol station and in modern petrol stations it shouldn’t matter what side you go for as petrol stations often have extended petrol arms.

Meaning, they’ll reach to both sides of your car.

Find The Fuel Filler Cap/Door

You’ll need to locate the fuel filler cap or door on your car, in a petrol or diesel car this is going to be located at the rear of the car, either on the driver’s side or passenger side.

Top Tip: your car’s fuel gage might even point to what side of the car the fuel filler cap is on!

Putting The Right Fuel Into Your Car

Sounds easy right?

Did you know that it’s actually pretty easy to misfuel your car! Thousands of people do this every year, so don’t panic if it happens to you.

Choosing the right fuel for your car is quite important, believe it or not! Who would’ve guessed!

You’ll either be putting petrol into your car, or diesel, the petrol pump handles tend to be green whilst the diesel handles tend to be black.

Have you noticed that there’s more than one green handle to pick up? Well, this is because there’s Unleaded (Regular Unleaded), and Premium Unleaded, it doesn’t really matter what one you put into your car, although you’ll be paying a premium for Premium Unleaded.

Why Is Premium Unleaded More Expensive?

You might be wondering…

If it doesn’t matter whether you put Regular Unleaded vs Premium Unleaded into your car, then why is there two pumps?

This is because some performance cars, like the Volkswagen Golf GTI or the BMW M5 tend to benefit from the higher octane rating provided by these premium fuels, and even then, the results for daily driving are marginal.

You won’t notice any difference for the daily commute to and from work.

Finally, Paying For Your Fuel

Great work! You’ve fueled your car for the first time! And if you haven’t you’re now more clued up for filling it for the very first time!

What’s next?

You’ve successfully put the fuel into your car, you now need to actually pay for the fuel!

Like anything in life, nothing comes for free, we have to pay for the majority of things in life, and there’s a cost associated at every stage.

Some petrol stations will offer the ability for you to “pay at the pump”, this is common at supermarket petrol stations as they allow customers to pay for their fuel quicker, and it’s generally easier!

Not to mention, if it’s your first time putting fuel in your car, you might feel more comfortable paying at the pump.

Otherwise, if you’re okay with going into the petrol station’s kiosk, then you could always use contactless payment or Apple Pay / Google Pay. But be aware, contactless payments tend to restrict your purchases up-to £30.

My personal experience tells me that paying with contactless in a supermarket based petrol station like Tesco doesn’t seem to go too well, I often have troubles with my debit card so I like to use my credit card.

If you don’t have a credit card yet, or even if you’re paying with cash, there are many ways to pay for your fuel at a petrol station, some of these methods include:

  • Apple Pay – paying with your iPhone or Apple Watch 
  • Google Pay – paying with your Android device or watch
  • Cash – the saying that cash is king can be applied to this topic as well.
  • Contactless Payment – you can use contactless payment on your debit/credit card to pay for your fuel at the petrol pump.

Final Tips For Putting Fuel In Your Car

Whether you’re putting fuel into your car for the first time, or have been doing it for a while, it’s important to remember that putting fuel into your car is likely to be something you’ll get better at with time.

Turning up to a petrol station will be like second nature to you, and will son get rather boring.

The excitement or nerves will wear off, and you’ll be wishing you didn’t have to keep turning up each time right?

The Cost Of Fuel

The final thing I just want to let you know about is the cost of fuel…

The price of petrol and diesel changes extremely quickly, so if you’re on a budget I recommend trying to keep your fuel gauge in your car topped up so that you don’t have to make regular trips to the petrol station.

And remember, be careful when fueling your car, it can be dangerous and if you ever need help, let a member of staff know at the petrol statiion.