Colorado Gas Station Allegedly Pumped Diesel Fuel Instead Of Gasoline

Illustration for article titled Colorado Gas Station Allegedly Pumped Diesel Fuel Instead Of Gasoline
Photo: Mark Renders (Getty Images)

It has happened (reportedly). Diesel fuel somehow allegedly ended up coming from gas pumps at a couple of gas stations in Colorado. Welcome to my nightmare.

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The number of people affected in Boulder County, Colorado, is in the dozens, reports Fox31 Denver. Drivers filling up at a Circle K near Folsom and Pearl Streets in Boulder or a King Soopers in Brighton reported “major car problems” after putting diesel fuel into their cars without knowing.

On Wednesday, Dani Alexander told the outlet she filled up her 2015 Subaru Forester at the Circle K.

“I got gas and about three blocks later, my car started lugging and chugging,” said Alexander. “It’s a really good car and I just got it tuned up on Friday.”

Alexander thought her repair shop had forgotten to attach a line, so she called for a tow.

“The tow truck driver stopped the car, and said, ‘you’re the second person I’ve towed this afternoon with that problem,’” said Alexander.

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Alexander called Circle K about the issue and was referred to Travelers Insurance. It agreed to pay for the car repair, tow and tank of gas—all in all forking over $1,100.

“[Circle K] did admit it was their mistake... they had been delivered bad gas that had diesel in it, and that’s where the plumes of black smoke were coming from,” said Alexander. King Soopers “says its underground fuel tanks were mistakenly filled with the wrong fuel by an outside vendor,” according to Fox31. It’s not immediately clear what the two stations will do to rectify the issue or prevent more drivers from using the wrong fuel.

If you put diesel in a gasoline car, obviously it’s not good. Your best-case scenario is you realize it before you start the engine. Then you can get the fuel tank flushed before any of the diesel fuel gets to your motor and you’ll probably be fine after that.

But these drivers didn’t know and it sounds like many of them only realized there was a problem after they’d started driving away. That means the diesel had gotten into their engines and that’s a less-than-ideal situation. When that happens, the necessary first steps include flushing the fuel system (which includes the tank, fuel lines, injectors, rail and fuel pump). That can cost between $400 to $1,500.

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If the diesel doesn’t all get cleaned out, though, there could be severe engine damage that might lead to an engine rebuild. That’s the very worst thing that could happen. Erik Shilling explained it all here in a post from 2017.

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Anyway, I hope this is the last of those Colorado drivers’ problems, since it sounds like a terrible time. I’ve added it to my ongoing list of nightmare situations.

via The Drive

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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DISCUSSION

Great post Kristen. This happens more than you’d know. I’ll give a specific anecdote. Back when I was a service writer one of my customers called me to ask for assistance. He was out of town and his daughter had driven his FJ to school that morning. She stopped to fill his tank on her way home from school. (As all good teens should do when borrowing Dad’s car) Unfortunately she barely made it a mile down the road when it stopped.

He said she was of course super upset and needed a tow. I called our tow vendor and hopped in my demo to meet him at her location. I drop the daughter off at home and check on the FJ. My team leader takes one sniff of the fuel tank and says “Stupid kid put diesel in the tank.”

I call Dad and break the bad news. Better call your insurance company. This ain’t gonna be cheap. Dad comes home the next day and stops in the shop with the daughter. I’m surprised to see her because I figured she was dead. This wasn’t a stock FJ. This was a special order Trail Teams FJ with another $25k in off-road upgrades. He LOVED that FJ.

He is not upset with his daughter. She made a mistake. It’ll be a life lesson. Wow. In any case while I’m talking to them I get a call on my cell and it’s another customer with diesel in the tank. Hmm, that’s odd. What gas station did you go to? Same gas station. I call the station and the lady answers “If you’re calling about the diesel you need your receipt and you need to come in.”

Yeah, the daughter did nothing wrong. The gas station had contaminated gasoline. By the end of the month I had 9 bad gas cars. The price to repair the FJ: $7,000 charged to Allstate plus rental. It was a good month.