Gas Mix-Up- Leaves Drivers Frustrated

May 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The first reports of this gas mix-up came out of a busy station in the north valley. -------------------------------------------------

Has the tainted fuel affected you? Tell us about it in the ABC30.com Discussion Forum -------------------------------------------------

At the Costco gas station in Merced, regular unleaded pumps churned out a diesel fuel mix that caused cars to sputter or break down completely.

We've learned of three stations in Fresno that also got this bad gas mixture of diesel include the Valero at Sierra and Blackstone, the Bad Bud's at Cedar and Herndon and the Fast Trip at Dakota and Hughes.

The Fast Trip station is just one of the many receiving the bad gas. The owner says at least 40 people have contacted him about problems with their cars.

Getting a routine tank of gas turned out to be anything but routine for hundreds of motorists in the central valley. Melissa Ford filled up then went to an appointment. "Come out and my car doesn't want to start, it starts shaking and everything. I call my husband he says well don't move it, just go home and get the other car. Well the other car was on empty so I stopped and got gas at the same station, at Valero," says Ford.

So the result was two cars that won't run. They were both towed away for repair.

The fuel mix-up occurred at the regional gasoline dispensary south of Fresno. Diesel fuel got into the line for unleaded regular. The result is stalled cars all over the place.

James Nimmo, tow truck driver, says "The engine will simply bog down, flutter and just won't simply work."

Car repair shops and dealerships are seeing a lot of cars, and a lot of angry drivers. Debbie Askew, stranded driver, says "And it's gonna be a lot of money and they are still not sure how much yet and what all the damage is and how long it will take to fix it. Now I have to put out to get a rental car to see family for the weekend."

Up to 16 stations are affected, many different brands. They're now pumping out the contaminated gas.

Steve Follet, Bad Bud's gas, says "I have to get 50 thousand gallons out of the ground, get some clean fuel back in it and purge all of the dispensers."

It's a problem for stations and drivers, but mechanics we talked to say it shouldn't mean permanent damage to the vehicles. Joe Ingalls, Good Guys Auto Service, says "No, not at all. They are both byproducts of petroleum so there should be very minimal damage as long as they get to it soon and drain it out and put the good gas in."

Ingalls put the cost of repairs at a couple hundred dollars. Other garages and dealerships may charge more.

If you have a problem go to the place you bought the gas. They should refund your repair costs. The gasoline dispensary, Kinder-Morgan is taking steps to reimburse the affected stations and drivers. In a statement they said: "We are investigating how the gasoline was mixed with diesel fuel. We sincerely apologize to anyone who has been inconvenienced by this situation and we will promptly address claims presented by the owners of the product, the service stations impacted and the owners of vehicles that may have been affected."


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