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Contaminated fuel from shell station...

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Anonymous Poster

Feb 7, 2008, 8:30 PM

Post #1 of 4 (2400 views)
Contaminated fuel from shell station... Sign In


On February 5th, 2008, I’ve filled my car gas tank with a contaminated gasoline from the Allentown PA Shell station at 1537 N. Cedar Crest, which is owned by Top Star Inc.
My car would stall and loose power. My BMW dealer informed me that there was rust in the fuel and that the repair cost will be around $950… and today, a day later they also informed me there is another customer that filled his tank from the same gas station on the same day and his car damage is even more extensive. Yesterday, I’ve called Top Star
and Bob B. said that no one called him about any car problems from using his fuel and that the dealer is lying to me and that he will defend “vigorously” if I try to sue him.
Can anyone offer me a word of advice what would be a best thing to do?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 8, 2008, 4:14 AM

Post #2 of 4 (2396 views)
Re: Contaminated fuel from shell station... Sign In

Damn! Stuff happens. Save your receipt(s) and get this noted in writing from a service - repair place that diagnosed it. Find out who another person(s) is/are that it happened to and keep in touch.

This could be very costly to you and others. Even more than what you were just quoted.

I worked at a few gas stations in the 70s. It happens. The issue then was water which is not added to fuel to dilute a costly product but that it gets in the fuel in storage all along the way. Condensation and ground water can and was higher than the tanks at one place I worked and did seep into the in ground tanks at the station as they were steel tanks.

Every place I worked then (might be out-of-date now) had a schedule to "stick" the tanks with a paste that detected the water level which WAS ALWAYS THERE but when at a certain level was pumped out. The problem then and now is when you fuel up when the place is getting fuel it mixes up like shaking up salad dressing - no joke - don't buy fuel when the place is getting fuel.

Story: That was good old days and we knew our customers (I didn't own the place) and would just tell them to come back later if we were getting gas. One day I noticed in the trap area of a then rare "unleaded" fuel car that the gas had junk and water there before it trickled down. "Hey Boss!!" We have a problem!! I yelled! We stopped pumping and didn't a lady with a Beamer walk back just a 1/4 mile away unaware of what happened but it choked on water.

Station owner didn't own the tanks or pumps - Mobil did. They took full responsibility for any person who complained of troubles and of course would like me to shut up which wasn't going to happen as these were our friends and customers. We couldn't just put a sign out saying it happened of course as everyone who ever had a problem would or could jump on that and get out of hand.

Then like now, I really don't think anyone did this on purpose. It's just the potential for a major headache for everyone. It clearly happens more back then than now with mandatory replacement of the tanks at a certain age.

Good luck with that,


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Feb 8, 2008, 4:32 AM

Post #3 of 4 (2395 views)
Re: Contaminated fuel from shell station... Sign In

Figure 2-Drain gasoline into a clear jar to look for signs of contamination.

This is what was usually done to verify the problem,


Double J
Veteran / Moderator
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Feb 8, 2008, 12:36 PM

Post #4 of 4 (2391 views)
Re: Contaminated fuel from shell station... Sign In

Contact every body you can...i.e.... Shell oil company the local government" weights and measures dept"..they do perform random checks on the stations to ensure what comes out of the tanks is what it says...
type,octane ,quality..etc....

Put an ad in the local paper to attract anyone else that might have encountered the same unity there is strength...
I worked and owned stations at one time and Tom is right...station owners are obligated to check for water,in my case I did it daily..they do ,at least here in Illinois, have monitoring systems on the tanks to check for water levels...but that doesn't mean it wasn't ignored...
Last dealer I worked for ,we had a local place have this concern,people contacted the oil company and were advised to submit receipts for repairs and they were reimbursed....Insurance company had to get involved...

No doubt the owner may deny it...he may even be unaware to the severity of it.He also probably just rents the station from the oil company...most don't own them.....I have seen cases where the tank fills at stations were left uncapped and water got in...also have seen this where at night after station closed,local teens would sneak by and put a garden hose into the fill and leave it on....imagine that...I was in an area where they had to install locks on the fills so only I could unlock them and that way no one could tamper with them ,not even an occassional untrustworthy gas driver....and believe me they're out there....
If dealer can put it into writing what they found and you can prove you purchased the fuel there (hopefully credit/debit card receipt) ...take action.......
Note to all....always get a receipt with date /time/location of station when purchasing fuel,especially if you pay cash......

Just my thoughts....
Jim...years in the service station business.....(happy to report,never had an incident)

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