Gas mix-up costs station owner and customers

By Beau Ebenezer

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 11:49 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- The feeling of a full tank of gas in the car is usually a good thing.

However after Pekin resident, Heather Smothers', most recent experience, she couldn't disagree more.

"They had it for two days, and they couldn't figure out what was wrong. They went through all the specs with it. They thought maybe it was computer oxygen sensor. Then, the guy finally called and told us it was bad gas," said Smothers.

Smothers filled her gas tank up at the Shell station on Court Street in Pekin last Saturday. Two days later, her car was completely dead because of a mistake made by a Central Illinois trucking company.

The gas delivery company, Tom Franey Trucking out of Champaign mistakenly filled the premium pump with diesel fuel.

"The vehicle would be running rough. Check engine light, you'd have excessive smoke coming out of the tail pipe. You would pretty much know something was going on. All of the modern vehicles now would tell you," said Ray Dennison Service Consultant, Alan Wilson.

Wilson said if you see these signs after filling up at the pump, contact a professional as soon as possible to avoid any additional damage.

Shell station owner, Ronald Mathew said he received about 35 complaints from customers whose cars were affected.

"I don't want to lose my business, and I especially don't want to lose my customers because I know almost all of my customers. They are very friendly with me and the store. Really, I was shocked. I couldn't have imagined that," said Mathew.

The mishap caused Mathew's business to take a hit. He says he lost about $5,000 in the last three days. Meanwhile customers, like Smothers, say they spent around $300 to remove the diesel fuel.

The problem has been fixed and the pumps are running properly once again. The trucking company says they will reimburse the customers affected along with Mathew.

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