FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Puddles surround the BP truck stop just off the Florida Turnpike in Fort Pierce. The station says road construction nearby is causing the ponding that got so bad after a heavy rain that drivers ran into problems.
Patrick McQueary broke down on the side of the road just a few miles from the station.
“The total damage came to about $1,600 bucks,” McQueary said. "We depend on gas stations to be reliable. The stuff we put in our cars we just trust them."
Todd Shumway didn’t get far either.
“The bad gas shut the engine down and the car relied on the battery to get off the freeway to a safe spot,” explained Shumway.
Shumway said his mechanic found bad gas in his hybrid car.
“If you consider normal gas yellow this was a white-tinted yellow,” said Shumway who said black debris was also floating on top.
State testing found all three octanes were contaminated. In one tank, state inspectors found more than 3.5 inches of water.
“I just want them to make it right,” said McQueary.
Both customers say they haven't been paid. We called station managers, and BP. The oil company does not own, operate or supply the station but told us they got in touch with the local ownership and they are working on the claims.
Days later, McQueary got his check after weeks of waiting.
“I am feeling great. I really appreciate it,” explained McQueary.
But, Shumway is still driving his rental car.
His damaged car was a hybrid, and Shumway said his mechanics suspect that complicated the problem.
"The initial quote they gave me was over $24,000. Since then they said there are some things they can do to lessen the amount, but it is still over $10,000 where we are right now," Shumway said.
The station is still evaluating this claim, and management said it's never seen a battery damaged by bad gas.
Five drivers had damage. The station said it paid three of them.
“I went there in good faith. I paid for the gas and their gas wasn't good so they should stand up and do the right thing,” explained Shumway.
Automated Petroleum & Energy, which is handling the claims, said the station shut off the tanks when it learned drivers were having problems.
Gas stations are supposed to have alarms that signal when there is water in the tank. The station said it looked at the alarm history, but the tanks took on water so fast it's not sure what caused the pumps to be turned off first.
The station received almost a half inch of rain the day before the contamination happened.
If you suspect you pumped bad gas in your car, call the Department of Agriculture immediately There are stickers on gas pumps with their toll-free number or you can call 1-800-HELP-FLA.
So many people who tell me they got bad fuel, never report it. You need to make that call quickly so the state can test the gas and be an ally in your quest to get reimbursed for damage.
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