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Second local gas station found to be pumping out bad fuel

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A second gas station has been found to be pumping bad gas to customers.

ABC57 first told you Friday about a Mishawaka gas station pumping out bad fuel and leaving customers with costly repairs. Since then we’ve heard from several more people with similar complaints. Now a customer is reporting her car broke down after pumping at different gas station with the same fuel provider.

Empire Petroleum provides the fuel for the Phillip's 66 gas station on Lincolnway East and Byrkit Avenue in Mishawaka where the first complaints came in. The Mishawaka Weights and Measures Inspector tells ABC57 he did find water in the gas tanks last Monday and shut the station down. The fuel was removed, the tanks and lines were cleaned, the pumps were reinspected and the station is back open.

Charmaine Jackson's brand new Kia Stinger has been in the shop for a week now. It broke down right after she pumped gas at the Phillips 66 on Lincoln Way East and Ironwood in South Bend, whose pumps are also run by Empire Petroleum.

"I left and went to proceed to drive up towards Ironwood to make a left and the car just started sputtering," said Jackson.

She made it as far as the Martin’s store before her car completely stopped.

"I began to try a couple more times to start it and it wouldn’t start," said Jackson. "It just kept turning over turning over turning over, but it wouldn’t start."

Jackson then had it towed to the dealer where the car was still under warranty.

"They didn’t know right away what was wrong with it," said Jackason. "They did a couple of inspections and called in an engineer and the last thing that they did was the gas inspection, which came back that it was bad gas."

The report showed it was only 10% gas and the other 90% was an unknown substance.

"I got a bill that was worth $2,500 for a car that is brand new," said Jackson.

Since bad gas isn’t covered under her warranty she went back to the gas station.

She found an out of order sign on the pump she used. That’s when she went inside to the attendant for answers.

"He said, well we have bad gas and he asked me did I get premium and I said yes I did," said Jackson.

Our cameras were there Monday as inspectors took fuel samples. So far we have not seen the results, but Jackson says the Distrcit Manager for Empire Petroleum has been in contact with her about how to go about reimbursing her repair costs.

"We send you a claim, you fill it out, and you pay for the bill and if it gets approved we reimburse you," said Jackson.

For Jackson that’s money she doesn’t have to give and after seeing our report that it’s happened at the company's other stations, she doesn’t think she should have to.

"Working people that’s working every day and relying on transportation of their own shouldn’t have to go through the process of having to pay out of their pocket because of what a million dollar company has done," said Jackson.

ABC57 did reach out to that district manager about this story and he had no comment.

So far Empire Petroleum has agreed to reimburse all customers who are having issues.

If you believe you got bad fuel at one of these stations first make sure you have a copy of your receipt or a bank statement that shows you pumped fuel at one of these stations. Then make a complaint with the local weights and measures inspector. In Mishawaka the number is 574-258-1668, in South Bend it is 574-235-9751. You can also email a complaint to the state weights and measures department at wmstaff@isdh.in.gov.

To get information about getting reimbursed contact the District Manager at Empire Petroleum at 847-826-2126.

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