September 28, 2008 at 1:21 pm #3409
Many Local Drivers Complain About Bad Gas, Valero Issues Response
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Sep 27, 2008 07:00 PM CDT
CORPUS CHRISTI – Since Friday’s story, KRIS 6 News has received an overwhelming amount of calls from drivers complaining about the same problems with their cars and trucks. Drivers are having to pay hundreds – even thousands – of dollars in repairs.
6 News has also learned that at least one vehicle manufacturer has launched an investigation into exactly what is causing them. Either way, it is causing a lot of headaches for drivers.
As a coach and mother of two, Tasha Wilson says she does not have time for the two times she has recently had to get her fuel pump replaced.
“It is outrageous for a brand new truck to be broken down on the side of the road and I have to have Onstar because I don’t know if my truck will make it or not,” Wilson told 6 News.
Fortunately, her 2007 truck is under warranty, but the repairs at Willeford Chevrolet could have cost her thousands.
“One employee told me ‘Hey coach, stay away from certain gas,'” Wilson added. “So, I’m gonna work hard to stay away from it.”
When asked which one, Wilson replied, “Valero.”
In fact, one local mechanic told 6 News that this “bad gasoline” problem is an epidemic. He said some fuel in the Coastal Bend is too high in sulfur, which can damage fuel pumps.
Several dealerships say they are swamped with dozens of these repairs – and the make, model, or year the vehicle does not seem to matter.
The problem appears to be so widespread, an employee with Enterprise Rent-A-Car says Valero gas damaged the fuel pumps on some of their trucks. Now, they are asking customers not to use Valero fuel.
To save some money, Alfredo Alvarez is now replacing fuel pumps for himself, and employees at O’Reilly auto parts told him they are running low on equipment.
“They said they brought in six new pumps today for the same reason, the gas,” Alvarez recalled.
Both drivers are now willing to go out of their way and spend a little more on gas.
Alvarez said, “I think I’ll go to Shell or Exxon and see what they have over there.”
“One friend told me to find a Chevron,” Wilson added. “So, I might go find it to see if it will extend the life of my car.”
State officials say it is the refinery’s responsibility to ensure quality standards, and stations buy from a variety of sources.
As surprising as it may sound, they say it is nearly impossible to track down the source of the bad fuel.
6 News spoke with 21 drivers who have all had the same problem, and all but two said they gassed up at Valero stations.
Valero issued a response on Friday. They confirmed that they have heard of the problems and that the rumors are inaccurately blaming their fuel. They added that their gas is guaranteed and meets all government standards.
If you have had problems, we would like you to contact us. You can either comment on this story below, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Reporter: Lauren Williamson
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