Step 2 is the hard part.

Matt Ginzton writes here.

Swimming Upstream

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VW’s safety/recall department just sent me these janky stickers for my 2011 Golf TDI. The accompanying notice wasn’t phrased as a recall, exactly, but given the return address, I can’t help but think they’re trying to avoid liability, and they must be having a larger than normal problem with people using the wrong fuel.

Stickers for VW Golf TDI fuel door

They specially called out loaning the car to friends or family; I haven’t had any problems with borrowers putting in the wrong fuel, but when I have loaned out the car I’ve reminded people 3 times that they shouldn’t refuel it but if they do they need to use diesel (the fact the car goes 500 miles between refueling helps a lot here).

So now my fuel filler area looks like this:

VW Golf TDI fuel door after stickers

(Note how the stickers are wrinkly and poor-fitting, and this isn’t only because I applied them poorly.)

What I don’t understand is, why don’t they just use green plastic for the fuel cap itself? Not green as in tree hugger; green as in the color of the handle on almost all diesel fuel pumps in the US. (I realize the green handle isn’t a legal requirement or a universal convention, and notably BP doesn’t follow it, but it’s still pretty widely recognized.) That would be a much more obvious visual cue to remember which fuel to use. Doesn’t this make more sense and look both cleaner and more obvious?

VW TDI fuel door with green aftermarket cap

I wondered this when I first bought the car; I wonder this every time I refuel it; I especially wonder this every time I see these stickers.