Motoring experts say scientific data shows fuel pumps can be virus carriers which could put motorists at risk as coronavirus threats continue to rise.
Studies have shown coronavirus bugs can survive on surfaces for between four to five days meaning road users may be at risk when using pumps. Mark Tongue, spokesperson for Select Car Leasing said: “There are a host of other regularly-touched items that fly under the radar when it comes to virus transmission, and a key one is the fuel pump.
“How many of us bother to wear the protective, disposable gloves available on most forecourts when filling up?
“And how many of us also fill up our tanks before heading into the shop to buy a bag of crisps, a sandwich, or a pasty, before eating the snacks in our vehicles?
“Habits like these leave us highly vulnerable to becoming very unwell indeed.”
The group has encouraged road users to keep disinfectant wipes inside their cars to clean their hands and surfaces which may have become infected.
In 2011, a US personal hygiene company studied hundreds of public surfaces across major American towns.
The survey found fuel pumps were the most infectious object regularly used by members of the public.
Fuel pumps were found to be more infectious than escalators, cash machine buttons and vending machines.
Forecourt pumps topped the list after experts found harmful bacteria which can cause blood poisoning and skin infections on the handles.
Bacteria likely to cause illnesses such as septicemia, pneumonia and meningitis were also discovered.
In a separate 2016 study by a US travel website, experts found petrol fuel pumps had 11,000 times more germs than a toilet seat.
Petrol pump handles are not just to blame as it was revealed buttons located on the pumps are also a hotbed for diseases.
The study found 15,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat in an even greater risk for road users.
A recent report found 71 percent of petrol station pumps contain huge amounts of bacteria in a major warning to road users.
Mark Tongue added: “At this critical time, we’d urge drivers to disinfect their hands after visiting the petrol pumps and be sure not to touch your face after doing so.
“Studies have shown that the Coronavirus can survive on surfaces, without a human host, for an average of four to five days.
“In some cases, it can persist on surfaces, and remain infectious at room temperature, for up to nine days.
“That gives it ample opportunity to multiply and thrive on greasy, dirt-attracting substances like fuel pumps.”
Motorists can decrease the risk of picking up germs from fuel pumps by taking some simple precautions while filling up their vehicles.
Using paper towels to grab and use the petrol pumps will prevent harmful germs from coming into contact with your hands.
Plastic removable gloves issued at a petrol station can also act as a barrier to germs around a petrol station.
Motorists are also urged to wash their hands with antibacterial soap after visiting a petrol station, especially before eating.