It’s safe to say that most drivers know the difference between diesel and unleaded gas, including California resident Brittney Brewster. But after a mixup at an Arizona border gas station, she’s warning other drivers to be extra careful at the gas pumps and always keep their receipts.
Brewster was driving to the Valley for a summer vacation with her family on June 1 when she had to stop for gas. She chose the Sunmart with Chevron gas station in Ehrenberg, Arizona along Interstate 10 as her destination. Everything seemed to go smoothly — that is, until Brewster got back on the highway and noticed that her SUV was sputtering and emitting black smoke clouds.
“We were debating on pulling over but we weren’t sure what was happening,” she said. “And then all of a sudden black clouds of smoke are coming out of the front and back,” Brewster told ABC15.
After spending the night in a hotel in the area, Brewster headed to a mechanic, where she was told that there had been diesel put in the car. What’s worse, it would cost a total of $760 to repair. The average family owns two cars, while 35% of American households have three or more, but vehicular repairs and maintenance can be expensive, and many people don’t have the budget in their emergency funds to cover unexpected car repairs.
A report done by Grand View Research predicts that cost reduction, yield improvement and performance optimization are projected to drive the global the specialty gas market over a six-year timespan (2014-2020). While Brewster’s issue was with a different type of gas, she did eventually find her receipt and learn that she did, after all, purchase unleaded gas, not diesel.
“For 24 hours I thought that I put diesel. I was like I must have been really tired because I know the difference…It said unleaded pump four,” she said of her receipt. “I called the gas station and they said, ‘yes you’re going to have to talk to corporate.'”
On average, consumers are exposed to 3,000 ads and promotional messages every day, so it may have been plausible that Brewster simply misread the sign. But as her receipt foreshadowed, it turns out that it wasn’t just her vehicle that was affected. An official statement released by Chevron says, in part:
“…The independently owned Chevron station on Tom Wells Road in Ehrenberg, an independent delivery company mistakenly unloaded some diesel into the supply of regular gasoline on June 1. Once the station discovered it, they stopped selling that fuel. The station believes the impact on customers was limited.”
Though Brewster says the gas station owner reimbursed her for the repair costs, she maintains concern for other drivers.
“There’s probably a lot more people out there who think that they did pump diesel, like myself,” she said.
If you feel as though your vehicle may have been affected by this unintentional mixup, ABC15 recommends contacting Sunmart owner Petroleum Wholesale at 281-681-7500.