On July 24, Nathaniel Sarabura stopped by Gas Plus in Langdon and filled the tank of his compact Mazda 3 with $ 46 of regular gasoline.
Or at least he thought so.
When it came time to make his Monday morning commute to the city of Calgary a few days later, he noticed his commute was rather “dusty” and lagging behind.
Sarabura said he spent that evening playing around with his spark plugs and anything he could think of that could have caused the problem. After that was unsuccessful, he said he hooked up his Mazda to a diagnostic device. But again, he didn’t learn anything about the problem affecting his vehicle.
It wasn’t until he started browsing his Facebook feed that he realized what was wrong with his easy-to-drive commuter car. In a Langdon community Facebook group, a conversation between residents who had experienced the same vehicle issues had emerged. The message was posted on July 27, asking how the Langdonites’ vehicles were driving if they had recently filled up at the Hamlet’s Gas Plus station.
“When I finally saw the message, it made sense – that there was diesel in the tank,” Sarabura recalls. “Who could imagine that would happen?”
The post was inundated with commentators describing experiences similar to Sarabura’s – trolling engines, hesitation when accelerating, and some vehicles not starting at all.
Later that day, the source of dozens – if not hundreds – of people’s vehicle problems finally had an explanation. The station owner, who set up a Facebook account to communicate with the public about the incident, released a statement he received from GP Fuels Inc.
“We can now confirm that there was a fuel mixture delivered on Saturday July 24th affecting only the regular and diesel tanks,” the statement from GP Fuels read in part. “The diesel fuel was delivered in the regular gasoline tank and the regular gasoline was delivered in the diesel tank by the delivery company. “
The post went on to say that motorists who purchased regular gasoline between July 24 and July 27 received an 80/20 split of gasoline and diesel. People who bought diesel got around 60% diesel and 40% gasoline.
According to autoguide.com, putting gasoline in a diesel-powered car is much more harmful than putting diesel in a gasoline-powered car. However, both can be extremely damaging to the health of a vehicle.
Diesel and gasoline have different combustion properties. A vehicle that uses gas has spark plugs to ignite the fuel and run the engine, while a diesel vehicle uses the pressure created by compression in the engine to run, according to JD Power.
Diesel is thicker and denser than gasoline, the site added, so a gasoline vehicle’s fuel pump will have a hard time moving the diesel / gas mixture through its system. The diesel will not be able to pass through the fuel filter and will cause it to clog. Any diesel that ends up in the engine will clog the fuel injectors and cause the engine to seize, rendering the vehicle inoperable.
Putting gasoline in a diesel vehicle isn’t any better, however. According to autoguide.com, the high burn rate of gas will ignite much faster in a diesel engine, causing incredible damage to the inner workings of the vehicle.
If the Langdon community Facebook page is any indication, many people have been affected by the gas mix in the hamlet; however, an exact number has not been determined at press time. The Facebook group’s posts and comments turned into a series of recommendations for towing companies and mechanics, as more vehicles began to seize.
Sarabura said his Mazda was toast. Fortunately, he has a spare – a 2004 pickup truck – which replaced the commuter car. But while he’s happy to have another mode of transportation, he said the size of the tank and his truck’s mileage were taking a toll on his wallet.
“It’s a lot cheaper for me to have a small replacement car – like the Mazda – and to use the truck only when necessary,” he said. “So right now I’m using the truck. But as you can imagine, there is a big difference between filling a Mazda 3 and filling a big truck.
Frustration among those affected is to be expected, he said, as vehicles are not cheap to repair and maintain. But Sarabura was not happy to see this frustration come to the owner of the gas station.
“First of all, we should be kinder to members of our community. It’s not the fault of [the owner] at all, ”he said.
Sarabura said he opened a ticket with the company through its website, which came with a phone number at the end of the statement posted to Facebook.
He is claiming $ 5,000 for the loss of his vehicle, towing and rental car costs, and the loss of time that the incident caused. Sarabura has been in contact with the insurance expert representing GP Fuels Inc.’s insurance company and is expecting a visit from an appraiser shortly.
He added that he had also been in contact with his insurance company, who told him that even full coverage would not cover damage caused by the confusion – despite what the expert told him. The money Sarabura is looking for is heavily based on the responsibility he thinks is owed to GP for the mistake.
“For something like this to happen, there must have been some pretty serious negligence on the part – most likely – of the person who put the fuel in the tanks,” Sarabura said.
“However, it is the responsibility of Gas Plus to ensure that its employee training and systems are in place, so that these errors do not occur.”
GP Fuels had not posted any official comment on the incident, at the time of publication – all information has been sent by the company to the owner of the Langdon station, who then posts it on Facebook.
However, on August 5, a screenshot of a letter from the claims adjuster working on behalf of GP Fuels Inc. was posted on Langdon’s Facebook page by a member of the community, who was caring for of its own problems corresponding to the fuel mixture.
“We ask all customers having engine difficulties after receiving an engine flush report to their auto insurer for processing,” the letter read in part. “Please note that your P&C auto insurance provider will record the details of this letter and later submit the claim to us on your behalf after making the necessary repairs.
“Depending on the volume of reported claims, our adjusters ask you to please wait while they review and respond to each of your individual claims. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and apologize for any inconvenience caused by this incident. “
By calling the number indicated for citizens to file a complaint, the Rocky View Weekly was directed to voicemail and had not yet received a comment at the time of posting.
Once reached, the representatives of Gas Plus relayed the Rocky View Weekly request feedback from GP Fuels.
Anyone having vehicle issues and refueling at Langdon Gas Plus with regular gasoline, medium gasoline or diesel from 9 a.m. on July 24 to 9:45 a.m. on July 27 is urged to send an email at support @ gpfuels. com with their contact details.
According to a statement from GP Fuels relayed by the owner, the affected tanks were drained and filled with the appropriate content at 4.30 p.m. on July 27.