Water In Gasoline Strands Motorists At Gas Pumps
Posted May 13, 2005 4:29 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Filling up at the gas pump caused problems for at least 15 motorists Friday morning.
When customers, who had pumped regular unleaded gas, tried pulling away from tanks at four BP stations in Raleigh and Durham, their cars started having problems.
Carmen Nittolo was one of the customers.
"(My vehicle) just started sputtering and rolled a little bit and stopped," Nittolo said. "I tried to start it a couple of times and nothing happened. So, I listened to the fuel pump and checked all the mechanics, and I just couldn't figure out what was wrong with it."
The culprit, officials believe, is water in the gasoline. Normally a clear liquid, the gasoline appeared dark brown in color.
"We're doing all we can to try to get these people's cars fixed and get them back on the road," said Haddon Clark, owner of the BP station on Capital Boulevard. "BP will be ultimately be responsible for the damage done here. And they have taken responsibility. They know what's happened and they're working with us as hard as they can to get it rectified."
Clark said he was trying to satisfy customers. One customer had called a mechanic out to the store, and the store paid him on the spot for his labor.
A fuel inspector with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture was testing the rest of the pumps at the Capital Boulevard BP as a precaution Friday morning.
Clark said the shipment of gas arrived at his station around 11 p.m. Thursday. When the morning rush started and cars would not start, he realized something was wrong.
The pumps affected will not reopen until they are inspected again by the Department of Agriculture.
An official at BP said the company believes water got into one of its trucks at their Selma, N.C. terminal. All six gas stations affected got their gas from the same truck.
Motorists experienced problems at four of the six gas problems. No gas had been purchased at two others in the area.