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Bad fuel reported at some NC gas stations; how to file a complaint

Three North Carolina gas stations have received complaints about water in the gas recently.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — High gas prices are tough enough to deal with, but what's worse is getting bad gas that damages your engine

For some Triad residents, a recent fill-up left them on the side of the road. 

One woman said $22 put into her tank turned into nearly $1,000 in repairs. 

"I'm without a car. I don't have $500 to put down to get a rental car. It's very inconvenient for me. You know, I'm on disability - my car is a vital part of my existence," said Jacquelynn Inyama.

Inyama's son took her car to the Shell Station on 2514 West Gate City Boulevard in Greensboro. She said within a mile after filling up, her car broke down. 

After getting a tow, her mechanic at T & T Automotive Repair told her there was water in the gas tank.

 "You don't put water in a car [that] the car just won't cooperate with that. You know if I could do that. I'd have my garden hose and you know we'd be running on water but you don't put water in the car," she said. 

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture confirmed it as well. The program manager said investigators cited the gas station after finding water in the gasoline. 

The pumps were shut down for a period of time, but now, the Greensboro Shell Station is back open. 

"They are not adding water to the gas. We're not trying to cut corners or anything like that. I know there's been a lot of rain in the area. And a lot of times if there's significant groundwater increases, sometimes if there's a small crack in the tank or if there's fresh construction in the area. If somebody gets a delivery during a rainstorm these problems can arise," Marcus Helfrich, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Program Manager, said.

There was a similar case in Thomasville. 

Chasity Small said she got gas at Circle K on 1115 Randolph St in Thomasville. Within a mile of driving off of the property, her car shut down and the dealership told her the fuel tank was filled with a majority of water, not gas. 

It is also costing her nearly $1000 to fix. 

"They said the whole fuel tank injection, everything has to be replaced because it was a majority of water, there was hardly any gas," said Small. 

The Department of Agriculture also cited this business and is working to get the pumps back up and running. 

Both said this is hard to deal with. 

"We don't have a lot of upfront cash to throw out. That's the problem, you know, we really don't, so we're just taking things day by day and trying to see what happens," said Inyama.



The NC Dept. of Agriculture has investigated the following gas stations for complaints about faulty pumps: 

  • July 19: Shell, 2514 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro
  • July 18: Circle K, 1115 Randolph Street, Thomasville
  • The NC Agriculture Department said it has received five complaints about bad gas at the Shell Station located at 1040 S. Main Street in Lexington. On Wednesday, they said an inspector was at the gas station checking things out. 


Helfrich said if you hear and see the gas pump slowing down, that means the filter is working hard, and it might be safe to find a different station. 

Also, don't fill up while gas trucks are filling the tanks because it can add pressure to what's sitting at the bottom. 

If consumers think they have encountered a faulty pump, they can report it to the Standards Division at 919-733-3313.

Immediately reach out to the Department of Agriculture and file a complaint. They can be there within 24 hours to test the station's gas. 

Also, reach out to your mechanic, document everything, keep receipts, and request a sample of the gas. 

When it comes to paying for repairs, it comes down to the store to do the right thing to pay for the repairs. 

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