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Fuel mix-up in Middletown damages cars' engines

Updated: Friday, September 6 2013, 04:53 PM CDT
Reported by: Jesse Knutson

MIDDLETOWN -- A big mistake at a Dauphin County gas station could cost customers hundreds of dollars. Diesel fuel was put in the tanks for the unleaded pumps, and unleaded fuel was put in the diesel tanks, leaving customers needing to make costly repairs to their cars.

The good news is that the company responsible, Goodman Tank Lines, says it will pay for the repairs. Goodman Tank Lines supplies the gas to the Valero gas station in the 2800 block of the Harrisburg Pike in Middletown, and in a 15-hour period from Tuesday through Wednesday, dozens of people filled up their cars with the wrong type of fuel.

The president of Top Star Express, the company which owns the Valero gas station, told CBS 21 News that the accident was discovered on Wednesday around noon after a customer reported a problem. When the gas station realized the problem, it shut down the tanks, drained them, and brought them back to working order.

Local car shops say that numerous people have been bringing their cars in to have the gas tanks drained and the cars fixed.  “It can be a very costly job,” Bryan Shearer, a mechanic at Middletown Auto Exchange, explained, adding that putting the wrong type of gas into your car can cause big problems.

“It’s a totally different setup, you cannot mix the two (types of gas).” If you put the wrong type of gas into your engine, it’s likely the car won’t start, but if it does, you should know something is wrong. “It’ll start spitting and sputtering, it’ll smell like diesel out the exhaust, and if you keep driving, it will basically shut off on you,” Shearer said.

To get the problem fixed, the fuel has to be drained out of the tank, and in some cases, fuel pumps, catalytic converters, and even fuel injectors have to be replaced.

So far, Middletown Auto Exchange has had four cars in the shop, with one repair costing nearly $1,000.

If you filled up at that station and are looking to get your repairs paid for, you can call Goodman Tank Lines at (610) 970-9250, extension 1376.
Fuel mix-up in Middletown damages cars' engines

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