Port Allen Gas Station Shuts Down Pumps After Gasoline & Diesel Mix-Up
Many of us have probably seen those "diesel prank" videos on Tiktok where some young and pretending-to-be naive woman calls her dad to let him know that she put the green nozzle of gas into her car.
Then, the dad will usually flip out knowing what that could possibly do to the gasoline-burning vehicle. The offspring usually lets it go for a few minutes before revealing that it's all just tomfoolery.
It goes a little something like this:
Well, what was joked about happening in these pranks sort of actually happened in real life this past Sunday.
A Circle K store in Port Allen, Louisiana had a major mix-up with its pumps leading to vehicle mechanical problems for some of the oblivious customers who purchased fuel that day.
In a recent fuel delivery at that gas station, diesel fuel was put into the underground storage tanks that hold unleaded fuel. And, vice versa, unleaded fuel was put into diesel storage tanks, according to a Circle K spokesman.
In the fuel industry, this is known as a "cross drop," and the company spokesman said it is believed to have happened at this location on Sunday, July 23. The store is located at 102 N. Lobdell Highway in Port Allen.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), which is the state agency that governs gas stations, said the fuel tanks were filled on Sunday but the error was not discovered until a complaint came in Tuesday morning.
"We contacted the station. The station voluntarily shut down its pumps immediately," LDAF Commissioner MikeStrain said. "A check for water in the tanks turned up negative, then tests at an LDAF lab showed the fuels were in the wrong tanks."
What should motorists do if they filled up at this gas station during these two "mix-up" days?
Motorists who filled up at this Circle K during those two days should not run their engines until their vehicles can be checked out. A mechanic may have to drain the fuel system.
“You have to flush your system, drop the gas tank, clean the injectors, sometimes you have to replace them,” Mark Valiollahi with University Car Care Center told Baton Rouge TV station WAFB.
Filling up a vehicle that runs on unleaded gasoline with diesel won't necessarily cause long-term damage. As diesel is thicker than gasoline, if you did run the engine, it may have clogged the fuel filter.
In a worst-case scenario, the diesel may reach the injectors and clog them. That could end up seizing up the engine.
But again, if you think you have diesel in your tank, do not start your car and call an automotive expert as soon as you can. You'll want to get your tank drained and replaced immediately.
What did Circle K have to say about this incident?
As you can imagine, this could be a costly mistake for Circle K. A company spokesman issued the following statement:
At Circle K, we guarantee and stand by the quality of our fuels. However, issues sometimes arise, and customers should report them as soon as possible to us for review by our claims department. The car troubles experienced by some customers who purchased fuel at our Lobdell Highway location in Port Allen resulted from fuels being delivered inadvertently into the wrong underground storage tanks. As soon as we became aware of the situation, we shut down all fuel pumps at this location. We apologize to any customers affected by this issue, and we will assist them with their claims. In the meantime, our fuel pumps will be closed at this location while we correct the issue.
How do you file a complaint if you were affected?
Drivers affected can file a complaint online with LDAF online or by telephone at 800-247-1086.
Strain said motorists can also file a complaint with Circle K in addition to notifying his agency.