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image Crews work to remove diesel gas that was mistakenly put into mid-grade and premium gasoline tanks at the Holiday gas station on Main Street in Tooele.

October 15, 2013
Area station fuel mix-up impacts drivers

Several Tooele drivers may have accidentally driven away with the wrong type of fuel after a mix-up at the Holiday Oil gas station in Tooele Saturday.

Though the company was still conducting tests as of Tuesday, station management said it appeared a supply truck mistakenly dumped diesel fuel into the mid-grade and premium gasoline tanks.

As a result, an unknown number of customers drove away with the wrong fuel.

Holiday Oil, located at 608 N. Main Street, had the mixed-up fuel extracted from the station’s tanks on Monday, and by Tuesday morning had re-opened with both mid-grade and premium gasoline available. Tests to determine exactly what kind of fuel ended up in those tanks—and how it got there—are still ongoing.

Heidi Yale, assistant manager at Holiday Oil’s Tooele station, said the company intended to reimburse customers who mistakenly purchased the wrong type of fuel on Saturday. If the station can prove the customer purchased mid- or premium-grade gasoline from the station during the mix-up, the company will pay Quality Automotive to drain the fuel from the customer’s car and then will replace the extracted fuel with the correct gasoline.

Customers who purchased mid- or premium-grade gasoline from the station on Saturday should check whether they have the correct fuel in their tank, said Scott Fuell, a mechanic at the Main Street Garage in Tooele. If the tank smells like diesel or emits white smoke, the fuel in the tank may contain too much oil for the car to run properly.

Many cars won’t run at all under those conditions, he added, but when they do, driving on the wrong kind of fuel can cause damage to other parts of the car, such as the catalytic converter or the spark plugs. This damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

The damage isn’t guaranteed—the car may get by unharmed, depending on what mix of fuel went into the car.

“It may just smoke for a while until the diesel is gone,” said Fuell. Still, he recommended that drivers avoid using the unknown fuel, and, as a precaution, have it removed from their vehicle.

On newer vehicles, draining the fuel tank might require removing the tank and cleaning the injectors, said Rob Childs, general manager and owner of Tooele RV and Auto Repair. This could cost a few hundred dollars, but would be substantially cheaper than replacing the catalytic converter.

Even in a worst-case scenario, Childs said, it is unlikely the mix up would cause any damage that couldn’t be fixed.

Residents who may have purchased the mixed-up fuel on Saturday are encouraged to call the station at 435-843-1095.

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