Aviation Fuel Mistakenly Pumped into Cars

Six N.J. gas stations receive wrong deliveries

NEWARK -- Eight tankers of aviation were mistakenly delivered to six gasoline stations last week in four New Jersey counties. This fuel was sold to motorists last week before the stations were shut down, according to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

The aviation fuel, which is rated at 104.7 octane compared to 93 octane for super unleaded gasoline, was delivered to, and then dispensed as super unleaded Dec. 5 to Dec. 7 from Delta, Getty, Express Fuel, Lukoil and Pasmel gas stations in Keyport, North Plainfield, Trenton, Manasquan, Scotch Plains and Lawrenceville, N.J.

All six stations are owned by Freehold, N.J.-based Pasmel Property. Officials with the State Division of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Weights and Measures met with Pasmel representatives to gather information about this situation.

The aviation fuel was only sold as super unleaded and the other grades sold by these stations have not been affected.  In addition to having a higher octane level, aviation fuel, which is used in propeller-driven aircraft and not jets, contains a small amount of lead as opposed to the unleaded gasoline dispensed to motorists. Automotive professionals consulted by Consumer Affairs believe that the aviation fuel should not cause damage to vehicle engines.

However, any consumer who has concerns about their vehicle after purchasing super unleaded from any of these stations during this time frame should file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs. The division as of late Wednesday has received about 30 complaints from motorists who purchased fuel at the six gas stations. Reports suggest cars filled with the fuel are stalling or won’t run at all.

“As we continue to investigate how these mistaken deliveries occurred, we want customers of these six stations to be aware of this situation and to monitor their vehicles. If customers who filled their vehicles with super unleaded gas during this time have concerns about how their vehicles are operating, they should file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.

As a result of this situation, Pasmel removed all gasoline from its tanks at these locations. In total, more than 80,000 gallons was being removed. The fuel must be removed and the dispensing systems cleaned, before Weight and Measures inspectors will allow the six stations to re-open. The state Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring the removal and disposal of the aviation fuel.