Gas station in Bethel pumps diesel into unleaded tanks

by Mark Arehart on April 12, 2013

A mix-up at North Star Gas Thursday resulted in more than a dozen customers filling their unleaded vehicles with diesel fuel. Officials at North Star say their unleaded holding tank was accidentally filled with 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

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North Star Gas manager Wesley Bennett said the problem started Thursday morning.

“What had happened was the driver was supposed to pick up 3,000 gallons of unleaded fuel for our pumps at the store. Long story short, he picked up 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel, stove oil,” he said.

Bennett said the driver then pumped the stove oil, which is diesel fuel, into the unleaded holding tank.

“About 450 gallons, roughly, were pumped out of our unleaded tanks into vehicles throughout the Bethel area,” Bennett said.

He said North Star will pay for customer’s vehicles to be fixed at local shops.

“And what they are going to do is they are going to drain the fuel out, put a new fuel filter on, change the spark plugs out and fill the tank with good, unleaded gas.”

Customers unknowingly pumped diesel into cars, snowmachines and jerry cans before a customer realized the fuel was not unleaded and complained.

Bennet said the pump was then closed down, drained, refilled with unleaded and is now pumping the right type of fuel.

One local repair shop said unleaded vehicles filled with diesel won’t likely be harmed, but won’t be able to run.

Draining a car’s fuel tank could take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours, one mechanic said.

If the vehicle is an older model, gas can be siphoned out or drained if the tank will allow.

Newer vehicles may have anti theft protection that requires the entire tank to be removed before fuel can be taken out.

At $150 dollars an hour that could cost between $75 – $450 plus gas and parts.

Bennett said anyone who may have been affected by the error can come into North Star and get the issue resolved.

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