A public interest announcement apparently made by the Indian Oil Corporation is viral in different languages on various social media platforms. The said announcement warns vehicle owners and users against filling the fuel tanks of their cars to the maximum limit since the temperature might increase in the coming days and a full tank poses a risk of explosion.

Many social media users have shared this apparent public interest notice on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, etc., in order to make others aware of the above message and are thanking Indian Oil for sharing the same. Below is an example of a Facebook post made by a user in Bengali which has been shared 123 times. (Archive)

It says, “INDIAN OIL WARNS: The temperature is set to rise in the coming days, so do not fill petrol in your vehicle to the maximum limit. This can cause an explosion in the fuel tank. Please fill half the tank of fuel in your vehicle and keep room for air. This week five explosions have been caused due to filling of maximum petrol. Please open the petrol tank once a day and let the gas build up inside come out. Note: Send this message to your family members and everyone else, so that people can avoid this accident. Thank you”

A Twitter user shared the said circular with a caption in Hindi which says, “This warning has been issued by Indian Oil. Friends do take note of it.” (Archive)

Sanjay Warkad, whose Twitter bio says that he is the “deputy editor of News Nation”, and has over 4,000 followers on Twitter, shared the same apparent notice thanking Indian Oil for the information in 2022. Vinod B Belkunde, whose Twitter bio says, “assistant manager of Sakal Media Group”, retweeted it. (Archive)

Similar posts have been made by multiple other social media users.

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This is not the first time this claim has gone viral. It has been making rounds on social media for several years during the summer months. Last year, many social media users shared this post, including actress and politician Urmila Matondkar. (Archive)

Fact Check

A simple keyword search revealed that the Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) had taken to Twitter on Thursday, April 19, sharing a statement which refuted the claims. It assured the common people that it was perfectly safe to fill fuel tanks up to the maximum limit, irrespective of the season. (Archive)

The company made the same announcement in a Facebook post on the same day.

Therefore, the claims made in the viral social media post are false.

We also noted that some of the posts shared as a notice from Indian Oil didn’t have the company’s logo. On a closer look at the others which had the logo, we noticed that it was markedly different from the company’s corporate logo as shared on their official website.

The below comparison of the logos shows that in some of the viral posts, the text within the logo where ‘Indian Oil’ is written in Hindi has been mis-spelt and in some others, the font, formatting and presentation of the text within the logo are different from the official logo.

In the original logo, the text within (‘Indian Oil’ in Devanagari script) is bold and there are no brackets.

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In the viral post in Bengali, the name of the company on the logo has been translated to Bengali. However, the company does not change its logo depending on the language of the notice/announcement. Below is an original announcement from Indian Oil which has been made in both Hindi and English and the logo used is the same.

We also noted that the company had clarified the same last year as well. Urmila Matondkar, too, had shared that the post was fake and tweeted Indian Oil’s official statement which refuted the viral post.

Hence it is clear that viral notices are not authentic.

To understand if the cause of concern expressed in the posts is valid, we reached out to automotive industry professional Phani Madan, who deals with car safety matters. He told Alt News, “Car and motorcycle fuel tanks are very safe. Other than the external heat, the automobile also gets heated up internally but that doesn’t lead to any kind of ignition.”

To sum up, the viral notice cautioning people against filling up fuel tanks to the maximum level during summer is not from Indian Oil. It is fake. Filling up car fuel tanks to the maximum limit is safe in every season, Indian Oil and an industry expert Alt News spoke to confirmed.

In 2019, Alt news had received requests on its WhatsApp helpline for a verification of the said notice. The fact check we had done then can be read here.

Oishani Bhattacharya is an intern at Alt News.

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