Local News

Customers fed up after Mebane fill-up damages engines

Posted February 3, 2016 6:16 p.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2016 6:26 p.m. EST

— 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.