Can I use a Mobile Phone/Device at a Service Station?

Many consumers will remember the no warnings and signs informing one to switch your mobile off or leave it in the car when at the fuel pump.

Quietly that messaging has been removed. Pay by phone at the pump using an App or using card details stored on a smart device are now options.

This current signage at an EEG branded Woolies reveals.

Permission granted - except while refuelling!
It still says no. Assuming one pays attention to the fact it is no longer highlighted.

I’ve moved some related discussion to this new topic.
All welcome to share their views on the differences in perception and fact across the community.


Useful for others to hear how the parking app has worked for you.

Looks like the don’t use your mobile at the servo pump is no longer a no-no?


This was one of the biggest tech myths which had no basis:

It falls into the category of, if it said enough times, it must be true. (Un)fortunately it isn’t and was widespread brainwashing .

It possibly is similar in stature to the panic buying of toilet paper during Covid, which was sparked by an employee of a toilet paper manufacturer being mischievous.


I recollect signs at the servo on top of or next to the bowser/pump showing a mobile and red circle with a cross. A decision by the operator/owner of the servo. Their rules well intended or not.

Not an argument amount whether it is a myth debunked. More a comment on the businesses no longer displaying the signage. Not to miss an opportunity to go with the times. There are likely many who still believe it’s not permitted. More recently than 2010:

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They shouldn’t as there is no difference in risk of explosion or fire when using a phone or not.

Without any substantiation. But, it would be classed as agreeing to conditions of entry. If they said to stand on one foot and quack like a duck when refueling, one potentially would have to do this as it is a site requirement.

I recall reading something many years ago that the fallacy resulted because of a refueling fire when someone had a mobile in hand. This went viral (in the days before internet and social media). Investigations showed the fire started from static electricity discharging because of the clothing worn, and nothing to do with the phone. Then fuel companies said if the phone wasn’t in the hand, there was a greater opportunity for the static electricity to be earthed, not causing a spark/fire. More appropriate signage should possibly have been to earth oneself before touching the bowser or not wearing particularly fabrics when refueling. :thinking:


I don’t doubt that the idea of phones starting fires with sparks is a myth. It is not a myth that petrol vapour is dangerous.

Is it really sensible to be dividing your attention between pumping petrol and talking on the phone, or to manage the nozzle with one hand or not at all?

I will be concentrating on that spout and listening/watching for the tank to fill not attending to something else.


Well said. My view too on mobile phone usage whilst one should be concentating on a task that could be dangerous if distracted.

And I have seen a mobile phone, with its lithium battery, just catch fire due to a battery fault. Fortunately when not being held to someone’s ear at the time.

I’d read that as similar to ‘don’t use a mobile phone use while driving’ … because it takes the driver’s mind off a task that needs all of their attention. Put the phone away and pay attention for the few minutes it takes to fill the car with fuel.

At least they’re no longer saying you must turn the phone off when you enter a service station, to avoid causing an explosion if it just happened to ring while you’re there.


My understanding is that a mobile phone is safe even while refuelling, although I wouldn’t stick one close to the fumes that escape while refilling, just as a precaution.

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That is an unclear sign.
As some have pointed out, regardless of the phone’s EM radiation, there’s a safety question around your attention to filling.
Once upon a time, nozzles had latches so you could stick it in, start filling, and go wash the windscreen instead of holding on to the nozzle. They’re all gone now. They want you to be fully supervising the act of pumping fuel. From a workplace safety perspective, it’s entirely within their rights to have that requirement.