Several complaints were made this week to the Butler County Auditor’s Office about vehicles shutting down or running poorly after purchasing fuel at the Sunoco located at the corner of Dimmick Road and Route 42 in West Chester Twp.
Upon inspection, about 3 feet of water and sediment was found mixed in with the fuel at the bottom of the station’s large fuel tank, according to Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds.
“When we get periods of sustained rain, our office starts hearing complaints about water in the tanks,” Reynolds said. “ I don’t have the authority to shut a station down for poor fuel so stations continue to sell bad gas and Ohio consumers end up paying the price for engine repairs.”
More than 10 years ago, Ohio allowed for fuel quality testing with the passage of amended House Bill 67. But the law, stipulated fuel quality testing had to be uniformly implemented by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, according to the auditor.
The funding never followed, however, and neither did a statewide testing program, Reynolds said.
State Reps. George Lang, Wes Retherford and Candice Keller all issued statements Thursday, encouraging efforts to protect consumers at the pumps from poor quality fuel.
“We need to protect the businesses and residents that are purchasing gas in our state. I look forward to working with Roger to see what we can do from a legislative perspective to address this concern,” said Lang, R-West Chester Twp. in a statement.
Currently, Summit County is the only county in the state to test fuel quality, according to the auditor’s office.
Butler County Weights and Measures inspectors are already checking fuel pumps weekly for skimmers and also regularly check to make sure the pumps are accurate in the amount of fuel dispensed.
“It just makes sense to allow county auditors to permissively test for fuel octane, water and sediment levels in gasoline and grant them the power to shut down pumps not in compliance,” Reynolds said.
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