Union Co. gas station sold tainted gas, drivers get help after WBTV investigation

State regulators confirm there was too much water in the gasoline
State inspectors were at a Wingate gas station after contaminated gas caused damage to customers' vehicles.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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WINGATE, N.C. (WBTV) – A gas station in Wingate, N.C. sold gas diluted with water that damaged drivers’ cars.

The tainted gas was confirmed by an inspector with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, who visited the gas station on Thursday after a call from WBTV.

Our investigation started after a call to the WBTV Tip Line about gas sold at the College Mart in Wingate.

In addition to the state inspector, WBTV also spoke with the owner of the gas station, who said he stopped selling regular unleaded gas after getting multiple complaints.

“It was just a typical fill up, car was running fine,” Jennifer Lowke said of her experience with the tainted gas. “Went over to the grocery store, picked up a few things, started having issues.”

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She’d later learn it was a problem with her fuel injector; a reaction to the bad gas.

Lowke showed WBTV a bill from her mechanic confirming the car was damaged by the tainted gas. The bill showed her car required nearly $1,300 in repairs.

A spokesman for NCDACS confirmed the gas station had gotten multiple complaints.

“The oil company has been working with the complainants to cover repairs,” department spokesman Joseph Pitchford said in a statement.

One driver told WBTV they had already been contacted by the oil distribution company (Transit Energy Group)to cover the cost of the damage.

If you suspect you have put tainted gas in your vehicle, take the car to a mechanic to document and fix the problem as soon as possible; report the issue to the gas station; and call the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Pitchford, with NCDACS, said the department’s point of contact is Marcus Helfrich, who manages the fuel quality section, at 984-236-4777.

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