There’s nothing quite like the betrayal of discovering your favorite gas station has finally upgraded its diesel pump, only to find a giant nozzle that won’t fit your tank. Especially disheartening when this is the fourth gas station you’ve visited looking for fuel and your gauge is hovering above E.
When out in the wilds of Northern Michigan, I expect to find diesel nozzles designed only to accommodate larger trucks. Stations deep in the woods are usually extremely old, with some still using more mechanical methods of delivering fuel than electronic. They just aren’t hip to my diesel passenger car lifestyle. It’s just so European. Not like cosmopolitan...Detroit. Anyway, I got so worried about the problem that last summer I bought an adaptor that allows you to fit any size diesel nozzle into a Volkswagen TDI.
I don’t cart this kit around the city as it gets pretty filthy after a single use and I have a basic map in my head of where The Good Pumps are, but it looks like I’ll need to start. Even in cities like Detroit, diesel pumps are more likely to be out of date, or in disrepair. At what I once considered “my” station only a few blocks from my house, the pump could only be activated inside and had no card reader. It was dirty and old but conveniently located. I hadn’t been there in a while since they were doing updates and repairs. I was so grateful to see the shiny new pumps after striking out at three separate stations on a single 14-mile stretch of driving yesterday. I stopped at a Mobile that had lost all power due to storms, a Sunoco with a yellow bag of sadness on the diesel pump, and a local station called Fuel Time, which I had to go inside to find out it hadn’t worked in weeks. PUT UP A SIGN.
But these shiny new pumps on a familiar corner surely wouldn’t let me down. I cheerfully ran my card (a real card reader!) flipped open the fuel door and aimed the nozzle home only to hear the unsatisfying *chonk* of the slightly-too-large nozzle hitting the plastic around my fuel tank. It’s a kind of dead sound, like someone’s last hope fizzling out.
I hit cancel and headed inside. The guys here know me, as I am the weird woman who always wants diesel. I ask for Pump 8, They warn me it’s diesel, I say I know—it’s become our thing. Well, apparently they had good reason to warn me because the one time they didn’t warn a customer a few months ago she bricked her gas car filling it up with diesel. They got the new pump to prevent such dumb mistakes from happening again.
I got back in the car, which helpfully reminded me I had only 15 miles left in the tank. At that point, I was so annoyed just I drove home, got my little plastic adapter, and tossed it into the front passenger seat footwell. Next time, I’d be ready, but yesterday was yet another victory for the unaware jackasses of the world. Was I prepared for the occasional drawbacks of diesel ownership in a gasoline country? I was, I swear. But this was a defeat. Once again, in the middle of a pandemic where everything is made harder by people not thinking, what was once as easy as trading currency for fuel was made more difficult by dumbasses.