CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A gas station in Caroline County mistakenly put diesel fuel in its gas pumps, costing some drivers hundreds of dollars in repairs.
The fuel mix-up happened at the Shell gas station on Ladysmith Road in the Ruther Glen area on Wednesday, Nov. 23. 8News received several reports of the issue, including from Grayson Ang, who was traveling from Maryland to Richmond for Thanksgiving.
He said his car issues began shortly after he stopped to fill up his tank with what he thought was unleaded gas.
“It would turn on, then turn right off. Then I tried to hit the gas and it would rev but turn off,” Ang said. “The next morning it wouldn’t start. So, I had it towed to a local mechanic, and they told me it was filled with diesel and I was like, ‘What? That’s impossible.’”
“As far as I know, you can’t even pump diesel because the nozzle doesn’t fit, so I knew it wasn’t our fault,” he added.
Receipts obtained by 8News revealed the cost to fix the issue was $848.26. Mechanics said in a case like this, it is vital to get an emergency tow, so technicians can pump the diesel fuel out, then rinse away any residue. Estimates for this service range from $500 to $1000.
“They had to drop the tank, empty it, clean it out, and fill it,” he said. “I called Shell corporate because I couldn’t reach the gas station, they sent me an email and a form.”
Repeated calls to the gas station were sent to a recording, so 8News reporter Autumn Childress traveled to the store for answers. Upon arrival, store clerk Cindy Rioja revealed that she, too, had been a victim.
“Diesel guy comes, pumps it into our system, leaves … all of a sudden we have problems,” she said. “Went to start my car back up, it wouldn’t start. I had to hold my foot to the floor.”
Rioja said she and Ang are likely just two of hundreds of drivers impacted by the fuel mix-up. The issue impacted all four of the station’s gas pumps for nearly 24 hours. It wasn’t until Thursday morning when Rioja returned to find the pumps covered in trash bags.
“People were traveling through here for Thanksgiving. Some of them got stranded, so it’s just a big mess,” she said. “That’s why I’m talking to you because I’m frustrated.”
According to Rioja and Ang, the company has been slow to respond to damage reports, leaving them frustrated.
8News reached out to Shell to see how many drivers were impacted and if they’ll be reimbursed for damages. Shell has not responded.
“I’m just hoping I get my money back,” Ang said. “The only concern is if I have any long-term damage.”
If you were impacted by this situation, please reach out via email at AChildress@wric.com.