Getting motor fuel can sometimes be a confusing situation, especially if we are not used to the car we are driving, the first thing to consider is do you feel petrol or diesel, but there are other considerations we must take into account, because if we don’t, we could be facing a fine.

If we look at traffic law, specifically article 115 of the Reglamento de Circulación, with its point 3, in which it says:

“To load fuel into the tank of a vehicle, it must be with the engine stopped. The owners of fuel distribution devices or employees of the latter may not provide fuel for loading if the engine is not stopped and the lights of the vehicles, the electrical systems such as the radio and the devices that emit electromagnetic radiation such as mobile telephones are not turned off.”

What the law clearly states is that the engine must be turned off. But, as we can see, that’s not all, because we must also make sure that the lights of the vehicle are also turned off, as well as other electrical systems such as the radio, and devices that emit electromagnetic radiation such as mobile phones.

The reason is that these systems could theoretically cause sparks to fly and could cause an explosion or fire due to the vapours that can accumulate in these places.

If you are going to refuel, make sure that you comply with these rules, including using your mobile phone, because if you don’t, and you’re caught, you could face an instant 100 euro fine. Even worse, although it is believed unlikely, if your actions are considered to be endangering life, such as of other people at the filling station, you could face a much harsher penalty.

If you are a smoker, then you must also realise that smoking near fuel is not a good idea, so that too is illegal when refuelling.

If you look closely enough next time you are refuelling, you will see that petrol stations display informative signs warning you of these rules, in order to ensure your compliance.

Getting petrol in Spain

To summarise, in order to avoid fines or other complications, there are basic rules:

  • Do not use the mobile phone or any other electronic device.
  • Don’t leave the engine running.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not light matches, lighters, etc.
  • Turn off the lights and other electrical elements of the car such as the GPS, radio, etc.

The traffic department also warn us that we should not wait until the fuel tank is empty. Not only because the car can stop in the middle of a road, but also because the empty tank is more likely to explode due to the gases inside it.

Finally, do not fill the fuel tank to overflowing, as it may spill and cause a fire.

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