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Fact-Check: Has Indian Oil Warned Against Filling the Fuel Tank to Max Limit?

Indian Oil on their Facebook handle had termed the viral circular as "fake news" in 2022.

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A circular purportedly from Indian Oil Corporation is going viral with a claim that it has warned customers against filling their vehicles' fuel tanks to the maximum limit as they might explode. Users have claimed that this might happen due to increasing temperature.

Indian Oil on their Facebook handle had termed the viral circular as "fake news" in 2022.

An archive of the post can be seen here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

(An archive of a similar claim can be found here.)

We also received multiple queries on our WhatsApp tipline about the viral circular.

Are these claims true?: No, Indian Oil has not issued any such circular. The company has clarified multiple times on their social media platforms and termed the circular as "fake news".

  • We also spoke with an automobile engineer who confirmed that the auto-ignition is not possible without external factors.

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How did we find out?: A keyword search led us to a post on the official Facebook page of Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

  • It was uploaded on 9 April 2022 and its caption mentioned that "it is perfectly safe to fill fuel in vehicles up to the limit (max) as specified by the manufacturer irrespective of winter or summer."

  • It carried the viral circular, which the company termed as "fake news".

  • Interestingly, the circular or the viral message gets often shared, and Indian Oil has issued multiple clarifications over the years.

  • The company also issued a clarification on their Twitter handle in June 2018.

  • It mentioned that vehicles are designed considering "all aspects of performance requirements, claims, and ambient conditions with built in safety factors."

What do the experts say?:

  • The Quint spoke to Bani Kalra, automobile journalist with Rajasthan Patrika, who said, "The viral message is nothing but a rumour. The vehicle will not blast if the fuel tank is filled to the maximum limit irrespective of the weather (summer or winter)."

  • Viplove Pradhan, an automobile engineer, explained to The Quint how ignition happens in an automobile engine.

Gasoline or diesel ignition happens when the temperature reaches beyond the self ignition temperature through pressure or spark through spark plugs so as to ignite the fuel.
Viplove Pradhan, Automobile engineer
  • He further said that the temperature in Indian summers reaches maximum up to 122-125 degree Fahrenheit which is not sufficient to ignite gasoline or diesel by itself.

  • A list of self-ignition temperature for various fuels can be found below.

Indian Oil on their Facebook handle had termed the viral circular as "fake news" in 2022.

Different autoignition temperatures of fuels.

(Source: University of Washington/Screenshot)

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What is self-ignition temperature?: Self or auto-ignition temperature is the lowest temperature at which a fuel or substance ignites itself without any external factor such as spark or flame.

Manufacturers recommend filling 15-20% less fuel than actual volume: According to a circular dated 6 March, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has advised people to not fill the fuel tank completely. This is because when a vehicle filled with full capacity is parked slantly then it might experience a leak which may lead to explosion.

  • However, it did not mention anything about the vehicle exploding in summers due to the filling of the tank to the maximum limit.

Indian Oil on their Facebook handle had termed the viral circular as "fake news" in 2022.

The circular released by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

(Source: Ministry of Consumer Affairs/Screenshot)

Conclusion: It is safe to say that the viral circular is fake. The claim stating that vehicles can explode due to filling the tank to maximum capacity in summers is incorrect.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Fact Check   Indian Oil   Webqoof 

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