A gas station in Virginia mistakenly puts diesel in pumps, costing drivers hundreds in repairs

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 on Wednesday 23 November at the Shell petrol station on Ladysmith Road in the Ruther Glen area. 8News received several reports of the issue, including from Grayson Ang, who was traveling to Richmond from Maryland for Thanksgiving.

He said his problems with the car began shortly after he stopped to fill his tank with what he thought was unleaded petrol.

“It would turn on and then immediately turn off again. Then I tried to step on the gas and it spun but died,” 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 from 8News showed the cost to fix the issue was $848.26. The mechanics said it was important in such a case to get an emergency tug so the technicians could pump out the diesel fuel and then flush away any residue. Estimates for this service range from $500 to $1000.

“They had to drop the tank, drain it, clean it 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, shop assistant Cindy Rioja revealed that she too had been a victim.

“This guy comes in, pumps it into our system, goes … all of a sudden we’re in trouble,” she said. “I tried to start my car again, it wouldn’t start. I had to keep my foot on the ground.”

Rioja said she and Ang are likely just two of hundreds of drivers affected by the fuel mix-up. The problem affected all four pumps at the station for almost 24 hours. It wasn’t until Thursday morning when Rioja got back that she found the pumps covered with garbage bags.

“People used to travel here for Thanksgiving. Some of them are 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 was slow to respond to claims reports, which left them frustrated.

8News contacted Shell to find out how many drivers were affected and if they would be reimbursed for the damage. Shell did not respond.

“I just hope I get my money back,” Ang said. “The only concern is if I have any long-term damage.”

If you have been affected by this situation, please contact us via email [email protected].