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Fuel gadget checks gas type, reading skills

The Fuel Checker can check if the gasoline type is correct when the nozzle touches the sensors. Flashing red lights show the wrong nozzle has been selected, while green means go.

According to a U.K. report, some 150,000 motorists a year disregard color coding and signage to pump their vehicles full of the wrong type of gas. The result is expensive repairs and probably a Homer Simpson-like "doh!"--or worse. Thus, the aptly named Fuel Checker was born.

Fuel Checker
The Fuel Checker determines if drivers have chosen the correct gas nozzle. Fuel Checkers

The European gadget made its appearance at the London 2008 Motor Show last week. According to the company, it can be permanently affixed to the inside of a car's fuel door or it can be held in hand. The device comes in petrol (regular gasoline) and diesel, and the hope is that consumers can at least get that purchase correct.

After drivers pull up to the pump, they can be assured that they chose the right nozzle by pressing it against the sensors of the Fuel Checker. Flashing red lights show they've chosen the wrong nozzle, while green means go. Although it's unclear from the product site how the device registers the type of gasoline, it has been deemed safe to use around flammable vapors.

Currently, the gadget is only available for European fuel nozzles but it could make its way to the U.S, retailing for the equivalent of $40. However, it begs the question: if you aren't reading the signs on the gas pump, are you reading the signs on the road?