Contaminated Gas

Jim Slobojan

This issue occurred March 11 at the Chevron gas station at 11529 E. Carson St. in Lakewood, owned by Malty International Group, LLC. (When) my daughter visited that station, her car was running fine. She put in approximately eight gallons of gas. Not more than a minute later her car starts to sputter and jerk before eventually stalling at 11 p.m. Luckily a Long Beach Police Officer pulls up behind and asks her if she needs help and proceeds to stay with her until her car is safely towed away.

The next day the mechanic where her car was towed contacts us to tell us that the fuel pump was bad and that it needs to be replaced. He calls back a few minutes later to let us know that his upon further testing and inspection he discovered that there is water in the gas tank. The repair consisted of draining and cleaning the gas tank, replacing the fuel pump and all fuel injectors. The total expense for putting water contaminated gasoline into my car is $1,600.

On March 12 I contacted Chevron corporate through a number on their web site. I opened a claim. I asked them if they were going to contact the station to ensure that they stop selling that gas to avoid affecting more people. They indicated that they would. I drove by the station that evening and they were still operating all pumps, not one pump was closed.

On March 13 I was informed about notifying the county weights and measures to report the contaminated fuel. I did and they came out on the 16th to obtain a fuel sample from the Chevron station. That sample, taken 96 hours after I pumped gas into my car, came back clean.

On March 31, Chevron emailed me to inform me that they denied my claim. The owner of the station called me and let me know that the claim was denied due in part because I was the only person that reported this issue. Now I know that just because no one else made a complaint or claim to the Chevron station does not mean that the water was not in my car. It was not in my car before i went to the station, but it most definitely was in my tank afterward.

Keep in mind that just down the road in Seal Beach at the Chevron at Westminster and Seal Beach Blvd. has had 18 reported instances of water contaminated gasoline. That station owner has stepped up to promise reimbursements. However, Malty International Group has chosen to not reimburse.

If drivers do not know that water contaminated gasoline was the cause of their engine stalling, then the owner will never know. If they don’t report the issue to the gas station owner, then they will never know. A review of other social media posts confirms that the Chevron in Lakewood is not an isolated incident, but Chevron stations in Seal Beach and Sunset Beach have also been reported.

Buyers be very aware. If you have issues you need to go back and report this to the gas station. Customers dealing with a water-fuel contamination problem may be entitled to reimbursement for repair costs.



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