Unsuspecting drivers fill up with diesel instead of regular gas

6:23 AM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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FAIRLAWN, Ohio -- Drivers at three local gas stations unknowingly filled up with diesel fuel, instead of 87 octane gas. The fuel mix-up is costing thousands of dollars in damage.

"All of a sudden all of my lights started flashing," said Terry Rollins, of her Toyota Prius. "And then my engine quit."

Rollins was stunned to hear the reason why.

"The Toyota dealership called me and said, 'Terry, did you know you had diesel in your tank?'" she recalled.

Rollins had filled up at the Sunoco station on Pearl Road in Medina. The station manager blamed a fuel supplier for the mix-up, but Rollins says she was given the run-around when she tried to get the station to pay for any damage to her car.

Meanwhile, Mike Banyasz had a similar experience.

"All of a sudden, the car started sputtering, and I'd hit the gas, and it would barely move," he recalled. "Fortunately I made it to my garage before the engine quit."

Banyasz filled up at the Giant Eagle GetGo station on Rt. 18 in Fairlawn.

Giant Eagle promptly issued a statement apologizing to drivers for the inconvenience. A spokesperson says Bulk Terminal Storage, based in Aurora, delivered a shipment of 87 octane fuel, that was mistakenly mixed with diesel fuel at the terminal.

Two GetGo stations are affected: Rt. 18 in Fairlawn, and Lincoln Way East in Massillon.

But there's no way to know how many drivers filled up with the contaminated gas, in the hours before the mistake was realized. There are no reports of any injuries resulting from sudden engine failure, caused by contaminated gas.

But the mistake is expected to cost thousands of dollars. Banyasz says the mechanics at his Lincoln dealership say a new fuel system may be needed, possibly even a new engine.

Giant Eagle says the company is working diligently to satisfy its affected customers, and says all fuels sold at GetGo are 100% guaranteed.

Drivers who filled up on 87 or 89 octane at the affected locations before noon on Tuesday, are being asked to call Giant Eagle at 1-800-553-2324, in order to make a claim.

However, both the Sunoco station in Medina, and Sunoco's corporate media relations did not respond to Channel 3's requests for comment. Driver Terry Rollins worries that no one will take responsibility for repairs to her car.

"I called the number of the fuel supplier that they told me to call, and they said the Sunoco station would have to pay," said Rollins. "But the station says the supplier will have to pay."

"It's frustrating," she said.


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