What does Green Mean?

0929_02_dieselGreen means GO. Green means Money (in the US). Green means eco-friendly. Kermit the Frog has always been the spokesperson for the color green.

One more thing…for as long as I can remember, Green-handled fuel pumps mean you are pumping diesel fuel. I’ve never owned a diesel-powered vehicle, but my dad had a diesel Caddy back in the ’80s and he always pulled up to a green pump.

Along comes BP and they want to splash green all over everything (to make us think they are eco-friendly, I assume) including gasoline handles. Hmmm. It’s not against the law, but it goes against the grain and it’s causing people some serious problems.

I watched a near fist-fight between a full-on western woman (think Calamity Jane on Deadwood) and a BP clerk last week after she FILLED her diesel truck with gasoline from a green-handled pump. Yes, it was marked ‘gasoline’. I used the same pump, but only after very careful scrutiny including smelling it after I started pumping. It went against my very nature to use a green-handled pump for gasoline.

Once you fill a diesel truck with gasoline, you have to tow it out of the way, drain the tank and the lines and buy yourself 50 new gallons of fuel. The truck also pulled a trailer with a horse in it. She was trying to get to Utah by nightfall and now would be spending the day and probably the night in Wyoming to fix the problem. The BP clerk would do no more than tell her she should have been more careful and offer to call a tow truck.

It’s a mixed signal of the wrong kind. Yes, she should have read the pump. But BP shouldn’t expect customers to go against their instincts. What if no meant yes? Try nodding your head up and down while saying ‘no thanks’. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not illegal, but it doesn’t feel right.

What are you doing in your business that just doesn’t feel right to your customers?

A LAST THOUGHT…In case you feel like jumping in and defending poor little BP. At these pumps which send mixed signals, the green handle always has the cheapest gasoline and the black handle will only pump the higher octane/higher price fuels. So, are they taking advantage of people’s propensity to shy away from green pumps…or are they innocently trying to ‘brand’ their green color onto the cheap gas? Before you answer, did I mention that I’ve also seen green used at other brands of filling stations? There’s good marketing and there’s sneaky rat-bastard marketing. This isn’t good.

9 thoughts on “What does Green Mean?

  1. Jimmie Autry

    I have a Mercedes Diesel Campervan that I bought a year ago. I planned to take a trip to Mississippi, my home state. Yes, I thought green meant stop and fill up. From California to the East Coast green means diesel.
    Unfortunately, I made the mistake of passing a BP station a mile from my Aunt’s House. That green handle just screamed, “Get diesel here”. After putting $50 worth in I drove off with my engine pinging. I knew it was something bad. I had just heard about a station that put water in their tanks and ruined people’s engines. No, I wasn’t that lucky. I couldn’t sue them. They were within their right to paint their pump any color and display that green handle with pride. I spent the next two days sleeping in the Dealers parking lot and wondering if I would have to abandon my vehicle and fly home. It cost me $650 plus the $50 in gas I purchased. Obviously, I should have been more careful. I’m not stupid and most Diesel owners will tell you it is their worst fear. The mental stress caused me to stay only one night and zoom as fast as I could out of that wretched State where BP is harbored as a “Good Neighbor”. It destroyed my vacation. I would like to yell to the world, “Do not stop at BP, they are out to deceive and do not care who they hurt!”

  2. kim williamson

    my friend and were driving her diesel jetta from oregon to virginia beach to spend christmas with our families while moving her back from portland. we hauled a u-haul trailer 3200 miles through blizzards and around interstate closures. the last day was most grueling as we drove through the night — so we could enjoy christmas eve with our families. we were going to make it, i’d even have a half hour to spare in order to take a greatly needed shower. we needed just one last tank — 2 hours to go. in gum springs, va, we pulled into a bp that advertised diesel and filled it on up at the green pump — just like we’ve both been doing for years and all the way across the country. needless to say we didn’t make it to our families homes in time for dinner and settled on french fries at dairy queen and beers with our awesome tow truck driver instead. he bent the rules and took us beyond the 100 miles that AAA would allow. he got a giant tip. i will never go to bp again.

  3. Ed

    While driving through Canton, AL on 2-Jan-08 around 3pm, I stopped in a BP to fill my diesel truck with what I thought was diesel. Of course, because BP chooses to use “GREEN” colored handles at their unleaded pumps, I pumped $65. worth of unleaded gasoline into my diesel truck. After approximately five hours and $340 later, the tank was removed, emptied, and the filter changed, thanks to a technician who agreed to repair this problem after work at his personal garage. According to the technician, this happens around 3 to 5 times per month at that one location. I can only imagine that number compounded by BP’s U.S. based stores.

    It would appear to me it would be sound marketing to simply choose pump handle covers similar to what all other oil companies across the U.S. do (Only “GREEN” for the handle at diesel pumps). Of course their argument most likely will be it is up to me to properly read the labels; which is true. However; you can rest assured, I will most definitely go out of my way to seek other sources for diesel until someone decides this is a serious problem and rectifies it.

    Subsequently, I have discovered the internet is full of blogs related to this very issue. It seems strange how a company this large hasn’t made attempts to resolve this obvious problem. Seems like losing approximately three customers per store, per month, times the number of BP stations, far outweighs the cost to remove and replace the green cover on the unleaded pump handles. Then again, I’m only a consumer.

  4. Diana Rodriguez

    Last night on my way home from work (26 miles away) I decided to stop at a BP gas station to put gas in my almost empty diesel volkswagon. I took the green handle as always and pumped only $10 because prices were higher than where I usually pump. My volkswagon died on I95. It wasn’t until the toll truck picked my car up and we were heading towards the VW dealer that I decided to pull my receipt and realize green at BP does not mean diesel. I think someone should make them pay for our vehicle repairs. I was told that I would propably need to replace the engine since I drove it for over 10 miles.

  5. X-tiinna

    Heyy. Well The Boss iis Here Lol.
    Jk. Well Green Means MONEY.
    DUH!! && Yooh Knw EVERYONE
    LOVES Moneyy. Like Who WOULDENT.
    ii Do.

  6. Bob Reily

    I work on a farm, and my manager told me to go get four gallons of diesel for the tractor. He only trusted me to do this because I drive a diesel myself, and surely couldn’t mess up this simple task. The first store I went to had a green pump at the diesel but no fuel, so I walked across the street to a BP, and filled up from the green pump there. The tractor cost over $500 to have fixed. I felt like a total idiot, but feel better after reading you guys posts- maybe BP is partly to blame. They have lost my business as well.

  7. Tab Ray

    2008 Chevy Duramax, BP station, GREEN handle 300 miles from home, 20 gallons of unleaded gas, 100 tow, 24 hours delay, 500 hundred dollar repair bill! Just another reason wy BP SUCKS!

  8. Bradford

    Hello. I work as a manager in a BP and have seen this occur multiple times – about once every six months at our station. It is true that it usually happens later in the evening or during unusally harsh weather, but it has even hit our regulars who drive farm trucks. In general though, it occurs at that worst time and usually when a person’s guard is down for whatever reason.

    Sadly, none of the employees can control the color that BP mandates. Nor can we refund money for the fuel, pay for towing, repairs, or lodging. The customer is still untimately responsible for putting the wrong fuel into his or her tank though I feel for the person. Interesting note… In every case that I have seen, it has occurred at the wrong pump – the ones which are right by the driveway and most convenient to pull up to and do not even vend diesel.

    If you go into a station that sells diesel fuel and is not a large “truck stop”, take the time to look for an island that has four handles. Nearly all BP gas islands (at least in the midwest) will have the three handles. Our diesel is located at a pumping station that has four – the black handle marked diesel is, of course, diesel fuel. At many stores they are out to the high traffic area and may be in a place where it is easier to turn a larger vehicle. Since diesel is not a big seller, often not all pumps will sell diesel just as not all soda fountains will dispense “caffeine free diet coke”. Extra hardware costs a lot of extra money.

    Take the time to be 100% certain you are really at a diesel island and be certain to ask if unsure. Many people do ask and if I see they have a big truck I ask what kind of fuel they need if they are prepaying. Few employees do this. Most are college kids who are not focused to watch for this kind of even. I cannot fault them for that either. Attending a large gas station requires a great deal multi-tasking and observation. We cannot watch for the VW Jetta or other vehicle that could use this or that fuel.

    The burden and cost is, unfortunately, going to be yours if it happens. Life is not always fair but fuel pumps are impartial.

    As I would change BP’s color scheme, but none of us are able. It’s a tough situation to deal with but it is one where there is not much anyone in the US can do. I can only refer them to BP customer service or call a tow truck.


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