Ford engineers in Europe have developed an intelligent refuelling system to prevent petrol accidentally being put into the tank of a diesel-engineered car.

The topic of wrongly fuelling diesel cars and SUVs is attracting considerable attention in the consumer motoring press in the UK at present .Over 150,000 people a year put the wrong fuel into their vehicle and the figure is rising rapidly as diesel sales increase.

Misfuelling is not only inconvenient but potentially expensive too. Due to the fine tolerances of today's fuel systems, the wrong fuel can lead to major fuel pump and high-pressure injection-system damage, along with engine component failure.

Damage may not be covered by insurance because many policies exclude misfuelling. Just-auto has seen figures of £7,000-£12,000 mentioned in the consumer press.

Ford's "Easy Fuel" system consists of a sealed filler pipe insert and a fuel nozzle locator that guides the nozzle to the tank opening. The insert contains an automatic diameter detector that only allows the larger diesel fuel nozzles to be inserted into the filler pipe and locks out the thinner petrol nozzles.

Ford plans to introduce the "Easy Fuel" system into its product range within two years.