An Ontario gas station sold diluted fuel. What that means for drivers

The Mobil gas station on Woolwich St. in Guelph remains closed after water was discovered in the fuel supply. Ken Hashizume/CJOY

Water is good for lawns, staying hydrated and gold fish, but it will cause damage when put into gas tanks.

Local media reported that several drivers experienced stalling on Jan. 26, after filling up with gas at the Mobil station on Woolwich Street in Guelph, Ont.

One owner took her SUV to a mechanic after she experienced similar problems moments after filling her tank.

“It was pretty clear that (the vehicle) had bad gas in it,” said Brett Carlo, owner of Herb Rose Auto in Guelph. “Internal combustion engines need gasoline to run. When it’s 95 percent water, like this vehicle had, there’s not a lot of gas to combust.”

It was later determined that water was leaking into the gasoline supply at the gas station which led to the fuel being contaminated.

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Cost to remove the bad gas from the vehicle and associated repairs run anywhere between $800 and $2,000. Some of the affected drivers have reportedly said they can’t afford to pay the repair bills and are hoping the business can make good and compensate them.

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Global News reached out to Imperial Oil. In an email, the manager of public and government affairs, Keri D. Scobie said the company sold all of their retail sites and they are now being operated as independent outlets.

We also tried to contact the owner of the gas station but have not heard back.

The Kitchener office of the Better Business Bureau has not received any complaints from drivers that were affected by the bad gas.

“The business seems to be taking measures to work with the consumers to come to a resolution,” said CEO Angela Dennis in an email. “That may be why we have not received any (complaints).”

She went to say that even though the Mobil gas station is not an accredited BBB member, consumers may still wish to seek their assistance if they feel they do not achieve a resolution.

Carlo said the problem would have been worse if the vehicle had a diesel engine.

“It could damage thousands upon thousands of dollars in components,” he said. “Most gasoline engines aren’t that picky. When you try to inject watered-down fuel into an internal combustion engine, when it squeezes and tries to ignite it, there’s not enough fuel. It just does not run at all.”

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It is near impossible to prevent these kinds of things from happening. One suggestion is to keep all gas receipts in case something goes wrong with your car.

“It is really hard to tell until your vehicle is stalling and not running well that you have a bad tank of gas,” said Carlo. “As long you have that receipt, it’s the best chance (at getting compensation) or at least proving you got the gas there and you had a repair bill after getting gas there.”

The gas station remains closed to the public as of Monday.

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