HomeNewsVirginia Drivers Furious After Gas Station Mistakenly Fills Pumps With Diesel

Virginia Drivers Furious After Gas Station Mistakenly Fills Pumps With Diesel

by Suzanne Halliburton

Can you imagine this sort of horror? Drivers in Virginia pulled up to a gas pump, but instead of adding unleaded to the tank, the pumps unknowingly dispensed diesel.

Now layer on this detail. It happened last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, otherwise known as the busiest travel day of the year. The drivers didn’t make the mistake at the pump. Rather, the unleaded pumps contained the wrong sort of fuel. All this unfolded at a Shell gas station in Caroline County in eastern Virginia, as drivers ended up with tanks full of diesel.

Grayson Ang, who was headed to Richmond from Maryland, saw firsthand what diesel fuel can do to a car that runs on unleaded.

So what happens? “It would turn on, then turn right off,” Ang told WRIC. “Then I tried to hit the gas and it would rev but turn off. 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.’”

That’s when he figured out that he didn’t accidentally pump the wrong gas. “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.”

There’s No Telling How Many Drivers Pumped Diesel at Virginia Gas Station

Possibly hundreds of drivers could have pumped the wrong gas. Even some of the employees ended up with diesel instead of unleaded. Cindy Rioja works for the Shell station and had car issues, too.

She explained to the TV station: “Diesel guy comes, pumps it into our system, leaves … all of a sudden we have problems. Went to start my car back up, it wouldn’t start. I had to hold my foot to the floor.” 

Rioja confirmed that all four pumps dispensed diesel for about 24 hours. She arrived at work the next day to see trash bags covering the pumps. Happy Thanksgiving, right?

“People were traveling through here for Thanksgiving,” she said. “Some of them got stranded, so it’s just a big mess.”

The repairs were expensive. Ang said it cost him about $850. Mechanics told the TV station that the cars need immediate attention. The technicians need to pump out the diesel, then make sure there’s no lingering residue. Repairs cost anywhere from $500 up to $1,000.

Ang wants to be reimbursed. He said he called Shell corporate, which sent him a form to fill out. “I’m just hoping I get my money back,” he said. “The only concern is if I have any long-term damage.”