Petrol Talk: By Petero, Founder, Mopetro Ltd.

Petrol Talk: By Petero, Founder, Mopetro Ltd.

Petero has been in the petrol retail business since 1994. Over the years, he has come face to face with many of the common customer problems at petrol stations and shares his insights below.


  1. Common complaint:

  • I was given air at a petrol station.

  • I usually put in twenty thousand, and it takes me from point A to B, today I reached only half way. So I was cheated.

  • A particular pump attendant at petrol station XYZ is a cheat, and gives air/less fuel.



The fuel pump is designed such that the customer can witness the transaction. It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that the pump is at zero before dispensing; to their eyes on the pump till the entire quantity ordered has been dispensed. I have come across many who took their eyes off the pump to attend to cell phones or answer the call of nature.

Nine of ten cases of this nature I have come across, the customer did not actually monitor the fuel being put in the car. Meaning that if we all took trouble to look at the pump as the fuel is being dispensed, ninety percent of all complaints would be addressed. And so let it be!

  1. My car uses diesel, but the pump attendant put in petrol.

  • Put in petrol.

  • Is my engine safe?

  • Should I sue the Mopetro station?

  • This is gross negligence!



These incidents are very common with the following types of vehicles:

Saloon cars that use diesel

Four wheel drive vehicles that use petrol.


If you drive a vehicle fitting into this category, please put a sticker on the tank cover, reading PETROL for the four wheelers, and DIESEL for the saloon cars.

  • Damage to Engine

In the majority of cases, the fact that the wrong type of fuel has been put in the tank is discovered while the vehicle is still at the station.


Precaution: switch off engine prior to fueling.

If the car has not moved, or has moved less than five hundred metres, the wrong type of fuel can be drained out, and the correct type of fuel put. No expensive mechanical procedures are required, and no adverse effects will arise, if the fuel is properly drained out. If the vehicle has moved for over five hundred metres, and particularly if the tank was almost empty prior to refueling, seek the advice of your mechanic.

  1. Parking :

  • I bought fuel at station X, but when I parked a head to wait for a friend, they chased me. I will never go back to that station.

  • My car broke down at station X, but their management would not let me repair it there, or let it stay there overnight.


  • Congestion of forecourt

  • Police directive not to pack at petrol stations. Terror alert.

  • Example of someone having a lunch in a restaurant, and then taking a nap at the table.


  1. What career prospects are there in the petrol retail business in Uganda?



Over seventy percent of the employees of a typical petrol station are pump attendants: the people who pump petrol into your car. In my twenty years in the business, I have seen less than five percent of pump attendant’s rise up to supervisors, cashiers and petrol station managers. I have also seen less than 2% move on to become station dealers and station owners only two percent, but a very inspiring lot they are. In many countries, the job of pump attendants is a transitory job, being done mostly by students. Technology is also increasingly present at Gas stations. Pump attendants work for at least eight hours a day in a low margin business, and cannot therefore command high salaries. The skill set for the position is also basic. As the petrol stations evolve to offer restaurant, supermarket, pharmacy and other services, career prospects may improve.