FOX 5 I-Team: Is bad gas a "real" problem?

FOX 5 I-Team: Is bad gas a "real" problem?

Posted: Updated:

It's not uncommon for FOX 5 to get calls from people complaining about bad gas or not enough gas from gas pumps. But how common is the problem?

Back in the fall, FOX 5 was on the scene of a DeKalb County gas station. A number of customers complained to state regulators that their cars stopped from water-tainted gasoline.

People on the scene last October said, "My car stalled. I was scared. All these cars was coming up and down the street."

"It cut off in the middle of the street. Right there. Cut off, said the gas has water in it," said another customer whose car stopped after pumping gas.

State records back up their claims that a DeKalb County Citgo was serving up watered down gasoline. In this case, it was a maintenance issue, but it prompted the I-Team to pull five years' worth of statewide gas pump inspections to see how often customers might get bad gas or not enough gas.

"We're state fuel inspectors with the Department of Agriculture," announced state gas inspector Exzavier Nash as he entered a DeKalb County Texaco.

"We're going to run a routine inspection on all your pumps."

They work in a mobile lab. They check for water in the gasoline.

Nash told us, "We're going to check for water in the underground tanks. There can be no more than a quarter inch of water.

We're going to apply some paste on the measuring sticks here."

He dipped them into the tanks below, and all was good. No water. At another pump they eyeballed a gas sample in a Ball jar. It was good again.

But these men know what consumers worry about -- their wallet. With the high price of gas these days, do you get what you pay for? It's all in the accuracy of the calibration. If you pay for five gallons of gas, you want five gallons.

And this is where they run into a problem.

At one of these tanks what was being read on the pump didn't match what was coming out of the nozzle. But it's not what you might think.

The inspector broke the news to the owner.

"That calibration came out at a plus 14 which means you're giving away gas. (Owner: Oh wow! Number 10?) Yes, number 10, based off what I've calculated you're giving away about one cent per gallon. (Oh my god!)."

The pump got a yellow bag around the nozzle shutting it down, but it wasn't the state inspector making that call; it was the owner.

And that's no surprise to state agriculture commissioner Gary Black who offered up an interesting statistic, "Seventy percent of the infractions that we find, or corrections that we have to make, are actually at stations where it's in the benefit of the consumer."

Yep, 70 percent of the time gas stations with failed calibrations give you more gas than you paid for.

And what's more, those pumps with water in the line, inspector Exzavier Nash says, is rarely ever on purpose.

"A lot of times it's assumed the station is putting water in the system so they can make better sales. That's never the case."

Here is a recommendation by the commissioner himself: Use a gas station that has high volume, if you can. It has less of a chance of impurities and water getting into your tank. Also, he added, make sure it's a station that appears to be well-maintained.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Good Day Atlanta

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:22 AM EDT2014-09-15 15:22:34 GMT
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
  • GA Lottery targets shadow winners

    GA Lottery targets shadow winners

    Sunday, September 14 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-09-14 21:30:57 GMT
    The Georgia Lottery tells the Fox 5 I-Team it's launching a full-scale effort to crack down on so-called "shadow winners.
    The Georgia Lottery tells the Fox 5 I-Team it's launching a full-scale effort to crack down on so-called "shadow winners.
  • Graphic video of Forsyth Co. Courthouse shootout

    Graphic video of Forsyth Co. Courthouse shootout

    Thursday, September 11 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-09-11 20:43:06 GMT
    FOX 5 has an extended clip of the dramatic shootout at the Forsyth County Courthouse.
    FOX 5 has an extended clip of the dramatic shootout at the Forsyth County Courthouse in June.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Good Day Atlanta

    Recipes: A healthy take on Southern favorites

    Recipes: A healthy take on Southern favorites

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:39 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:39:34 GMT
    We challenged chef Curtis Aikens to lighten up two Southern classics, starting with sweet potato pie.Which usually involves a couple of sticks of butter, loads of sugar and buttermilk.
    We challenged chef Curtis Aikens to lighten up two Southern classics, starting with sweet potato pie.Which usually involves a couple of sticks of butter, loads of sugar and buttermilk.
  • FOX Comedies Return To Tuesday Night

    FOX Comedies Return To Tuesday Night

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:36:32 GMT
     Two of the hottest comedies on FOX return Tuesday night, so get ready for some new laughs with old friends!   First up, "New Girl" is
    Two of the hottest comedies on FOX return Tuesday night, so get ready for some new laughs with old friends! First up, "New Girl" is back for a fourth season, and cast members say expect a bit of a "reboot" of the series. What does that mean? Star H
  • Get Ready To "Rock" At Johns Creek Music School

    Get Ready To "Rock" At Johns Creek Music School

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:01 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:01:43 GMT
    It's a unique music school where kids jam out to The Beatles and Green Day, and learning to play an instrument also means learning to play with others.
     It's a unique music school where kids jam out to The Beatles and Green Day, and learning to play an instrument also means learning to play with others. There are nearly 150 School of Rock locations around the world, and now there's one in Johns Creek.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices