So there you are, taking delivery of your spanking new car. You’re excited about it, of course, as you drive off from the showroom, but instead of pottering around discovering more about it or just enjoying the moment, you’re more likely to contend with looking for a petrol station nearby, because the fuel tank is just about empty.

It happens with virtually all new cars, no matter what the brand. So, yes, I’ve got a gripe about it, and my question is, why can’t you (who sell those cars) put in at least half a tank’s worth of whatever it is the car needs to run on, so the new owner doesn’t have to do the “must fill petrol” bit for his/her first act with the car? Intimacy is one thing, but can you allow us a bit of time before penetration with a gas nozzle takes place?

I picked up my new car yesterday, and there was enough to get me out of the showroom (and back to the office, which is nearby enough), but with 40 km to empty when I started off, pushing on merely delayed the inevitable.

A friend, who recently bought a new sedan, had pretty much the same experience, and she took delivery from a showroom in an area she wasn’t familiar with, so she gingerly drove back towards a more familiar area where she knew where the stations were. Grappling with the unfamiliarity of a new car doesn’t need more, ahem, fuel to the fire, no?

The cost of the car doesn’t matter – if you believe service comes with the territory, well, perhaps, but not where a filled tank is concerned. Another friend took delivery of a car some time back, and while it wasn’t a half a million bucks worth of moving metal, it was still a considerable sum (well, RM250k is not inconsequential). The readout on the car’s computer said 11 km to empty, so the first thing he had to worry about was whether he could get to a petrol station before the car simply ran out of puff. Not exactly the funnest thing to start off your new car experience with.

Yes, one can always argue the fact that gas costs money, and a tankful of it can eat back into a car company’s profits, but it’s pretty much all about that, money. The argument that filling up will add in the mileage in a new car (because the car needs to be driven to the station) doesn’t cut it – with Puspakom inspections mandatory for new vehicles, the car usually gets driven there anyway, so why not fill up say half a tank on the way back? Petrol vouchers? Why can’t you do it instead of palming it off, eh?

The idea that owners don’t appreciate seeing more than say, 20 km on the odometer isn’t an excuse either. Yes, there are those who will complain, inevitably, about a high reading (all subjective, depending on individual), but imagine this: the sales advisor telling you, ‘yes, we’re sorry that we had to clock in another five km or so in your car, but we’ve gassed it up with half a tank of gas, so don’t worry about the fuel for now, sir or madam.’ Are you going to get pissed off, or appreciate the gesture? What do you think? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the petrol station to gas up the new ride.