Bad gasoline leads to expensive auto repairs for some Palm Beach Gardens drivers

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - A spokeswoman for the 7-11 station where suspected substandard gas was sold told NewsChannel 5 today that the problem was caused by tiny pinholes in the tanks.

Margaret Chabris, the director of corporate communications for 7-Eleven, said brine was able to leak into the tanks through the pinholes. She said the diesel and premium pumps will not be used to sell gasoline at the Mobil station at 6221 PGA Boulevard until a tightness test can conducted which show the tanks are no longer leaking. She said the test will probably occur later this month.

The gasoline has led to expensive repairs for a growing number of drivers in Palm Beach Gardens.

The first complaints about the gas were reported to the State of Florida on Tuesday.

"We received a consumer complaint late yesterday afternoon about potential substandard fuel at this location and it was dispatched to an inspector for investigation," Matthew Curran, Bureau of Standards Chief at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said in an E-mail to NewsChannel 5. "When he arrived at 6:30 AM, the owner had already shut down the pumps and was removing the suspected substandard fuel to rectify the situation."

Curran said the owner was replacing it with new gasoline.

Several drivers had reported misfires, stumbling and vehicles that wouldn't start, according to Jordan Camarena, shop foreman at Mercedes-Benz of North Palm Beach.

"This has definitely increased our workload ," he said.

The reports of the substandard gas came days after the Contact 5 Investigators discovered pumps at 14 area gas stations were shut down in 2011 due to bad gas samples.

Another 14 have not been inspected in more than a year.

Service technicians said repair costs for some of the vehicles damaged by the substandard gasoline would total upwards of $5,000.

The owner of the gas station has referred customers to an insurance claims agent to cover the cost of some of the repairs.

You can contact the claims agent by calling this number: 972-906-8515.

Investigative Producer w http ://www.twitter.com/lwalsh contributed to this story.

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