Local News

Customers fed up after Mebane fill-up damages engines

Posted February 3, 2016

— Weeks after their engines were damaged by water that had mixed with fuel sold at a Mebane gas station, drivers are still trying to get reimbursed for their repair costs.

Several drivers said they bought gas at a Valero Station on U.S. Highway 70 on Dec. 23 only to have their vehicles stall a short time later.

"I went and filled up my gas tank, and I started going down the road, and my car just stopped going," Amber Ragan said Wednesday.

A mechanic "found water in fuel," according to a repair bill, and charged her $550 to fix the problem.

Ragan and other customers are frustrated that the station owner and the company that delivered the fuel to the station are now pointing fingers at each other for who's responsible.

"We're not even able to get basic information as to when we are going to get reimbursed," said Carl Ward, whose repair bill topped $800.

Ward recorded a conversation with a gas station representative on Dec. 27 in which the man told him Sampson Bladen Oil Co., which supplies fuel to the station, would pay the bill.

When WRAL News contacted Sampson Bladen Oil on Wednesday, however, the company said the issue is between Waccamaw Transport Inc., which delivered the gas, and Valero.

Valero representatives have told customers that a Waccamaw driver left the cap off the underground fuel storage tank, which allowed water to flow in and mix with the fuel.

Waccamaw General Manager Fitch Monson vehemently denied that on Wednesday, blaming drainage problems at the station and malfunctions with the underground tanks for the water in the gas.

"There is quite a bit of physical evidence that there is an equipment issue there that caused the problem," Monson said. "The equipment belongs to the dealer. Below-ground equipment at the site has the problem. Waccamaw doesn’t own or maintain that equipment."

Employees at the Valero station declined to comment Wednesday.

Ragan said she spoke with the station owner on Tuesday, who told her that Valero mailed her a reimbursement check last week. She said she hasn't received it.


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  • Russell Chapman Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    Why not bring a lawsuit against everyone involved and let the courts figure it out?

  • Donald Holder Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    I say split the cost evenly between the station, the hauler, and the gas company. If the station says the delivery driver left the cap off the tank, then they should have taken a picture of it for this very situation. I really don't think the water was in the fuel before it entered the truck so really the gas company isn't at fault.

  • Robert Fields Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    Gas tanks will have to be dropped - they do not have a drain valve! Tanks will have to be cleaned out - cause there may be other debris
    inside the tank that will clog up or destroy fuel pumps,injectors,fuel lines,
    chk. valves,fuel filters! And this is a DANGEROUS JOB!!! To be DONE by PROFESSIONALS ONLY !!!!!!!!
    And VALERO is responsible for all customers R&R bills, they admitted they knew their GAS had WATER in it !!!!

  • greensidedoc20 Feb 3, 2016

    Norman it's just not us two customers there were at least 10 of us affected by this. I'm not well knowledgeable when it comes to draining a fuel tank and possible replacing a fuel pump. It's your opinion but it's a true story we have nothing to gain by lying the bills speak for themselves

  • Norman Lewis Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    I would like to say the two motorists, if innocent, were likely deceived by the mechanics since draining the fuel mixed with water and refilling with clean gasoline would most likely have resolved the problem with no follow up issues as happened with me. The "mechanic" said I needed to have the fuel tank pulled, cleaned and reinserted (at a cost of hundreds of dollars) and I just drained the fuel myself, refilled the tank and drove the car for several more years with no issues. Whole story sounds fishy.