FOX 5 I-Team: Is bad gas a "real" problem? - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

FOX 5 I-Team: Is bad gas a "real" problem?

Posted: Updated:

It's not uncommon for FOX 5 to get calls from people complaining about bad gas or not enough gas from gas pumps. But how common is the problem?

Back in the fall, FOX 5 was on the scene of a DeKalb County gas station. A number of customers complained to state regulators that their cars stopped from water-tainted gasoline.

People on the scene last October said, "My car stalled. I was scared. All these cars was coming up and down the street."

"It cut off in the middle of the street. Right there. Cut off, said the gas has water in it," said another customer whose car stopped after pumping gas.

State records back up their claims that a DeKalb County Citgo was serving up watered down gasoline. In this case, it was a maintenance issue, but it prompted the I-Team to pull five years' worth of statewide gas pump inspections to see how often customers might get bad gas or not enough gas.

"We're state fuel inspectors with the Department of Agriculture," announced state gas inspector Exzavier Nash as he entered a DeKalb County Texaco.

"We're going to run a routine inspection on all your pumps."

They work in a mobile lab. They check for water in the gasoline.

Nash told us, "We're going to check for water in the underground tanks. There can be no more than a quarter inch of water.

We're going to apply some paste on the measuring sticks here."

He dipped them into the tanks below, and all was good. No water. At another pump they eyeballed a gas sample in a Ball jar. It was good again.

But these men know what consumers worry about -- their wallet. With the high price of gas these days, do you get what you pay for? It's all in the accuracy of the calibration. If you pay for five gallons of gas, you want five gallons.

And this is where they run into a problem.

At one of these tanks what was being read on the pump didn't match what was coming out of the nozzle. But it's not what you might think.

The inspector broke the news to the owner.

"That calibration came out at a plus 14 which means you're giving away gas. (Owner: Oh wow! Number 10?) Yes, number 10, based off what I've calculated you're giving away about one cent per gallon. (Oh my god!)."

The pump got a yellow bag around the nozzle shutting it down, but it wasn't the state inspector making that call; it was the owner.

And that's no surprise to state agriculture commissioner Gary Black who offered up an interesting statistic, "Seventy percent of the infractions that we find, or corrections that we have to make, are actually at stations where it's in the benefit of the consumer."

Yep, 70 percent of the time gas stations with failed calibrations give you more gas than you paid for.

And what's more, those pumps with water in the line, inspector Exzavier Nash says, is rarely ever on purpose.

"A lot of times it's assumed the station is putting water in the system so they can make better sales. That's never the case."

Here is a recommendation by the commissioner himself: Use a gas station that has high volume, if you can. It has less of a chance of impurities and water getting into your tank. Also, he added, make sure it's a station that appears to be well-maintained.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • RAW VIDEO: I-Team's undercover visit to Boggs Mountain

    RAW VIDEO: I-Team's undercover visit to Boggs Mountain

    Thursday, April 24 2014 1:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 17:43:54 GMT
    Trial is set May 12 in Rabun County for a case uncovered by the Fox 5 I-Team that continues to trouble animal lovers across the country. Lowanda "Peanut" Kilby faces 60 counts including theft by taking, theft by deception and racketeering.
    Trial is set May 12 in Rabun County for a case uncovered by the Fox 5 I-Team that continues to trouble animal lovers across the country. Lowanda "Peanut" Kilby faces 60 counts including theft by taking, theft by deception and racketeering.
  • Identity Protection Bill Signed into Law

    Identity Protection Bill Signed into Law

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:28:15 GMT
    With a stroke of the governor's pen, a new law that could help protect your identity now goes into effect. Republican State Senator John Albers says his bill, now law, will prohibit public disclosure of private information in court documents.
    With a stroke of the governor's pen, a new law that could help protect your identity now goes into effect. Republican State Senator John Albers says his bill, now law, will prohibit public disclosure of private information in court documents.
  • Fox 5 I-Team

    Cheap vs. Frugal

    Cheap vs. Frugal

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:15:25 GMT
    There is nothing wrong with saving a buck, but can you cross the line? There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.
    There is nothing wrong with saving a buck, but can you cross the line? There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Hidden Treasures: April 24

    Hidden Treasures: April 24

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:32 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:32:15 GMT
    We asked you to share your hidden treasures with us, and boy, did you ever! We got dozens of emails from viewers who wanted to know what the items they had stashed away are worth.
    We asked you to share your hidden treasures with us, and boy, did you ever! We got dozens of emails from viewers who wanted to know what the items they had stashed away are worth.
  • Weekend Event Celebrates "Anything With A Motor In It"

    Weekend Event Celebrates "Anything With A Motor In It"

    Thursday, April 24 2014 9:10 AM EDT2014-04-24 13:10:13 GMT
    If you spend your days fixing up cars, reading car magazine, and dreaming about that car you've always wanted...you might be a car enthusiast.
    If you spend your days fixing up cars, reading car magazine, and dreaming about that car you've always wanted...you might be a car enthusiast.
  • Safely restrain pets with the PupSaver

    Safely restrain pets with the PupSaver

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:07 AM EDT2014-04-24 12:07:29 GMT
    Most people treat their dogs just like their children. However, when it comes to dog safety in the vehicle, many drivers are buckling the children up but not safely restraining their pets.
    Most people treat their dogs just like their children. However, when it comes to dog safety in the vehicle, many drivers are buckling the children up but not safely restraining their pets.
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices