What causes tainted gas that strands drivers? Butler County auditor explains

Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds, after another incident of bad gas found at a county fuel station, said excessive rain can cause problems and lead to stranded drivers.

“When we get periods of sustained rain, our office starts hearing complaints about water in the tanks,” Reynolds said then. “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.”

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That was after about three feet of water and sediment was found mixed in with the fuel at the bottom of a West Chester Twp. station’s large fuel tank. This week the auditor’s office got more complaints from drivers.

Reynolds said four drivers pumped water-tainted fuel into their tanks at the Madison Food Mart Shell station at 2289 Middletown Eaton Road on Wednesday. One of the four, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, didn’t even make it to the road before the postal vehicle broke down at the station.

According to photos provided by the auditor’s office, one of the caps used by the station was not water tight, which allowed water to get in.

“How many more vehicles are we going to see damaged because of no action on fuel quality testing in this state?” Reynolds said. “If the (Ohio Department of Agriculture) is not going to do the job, give local county auditors the authority to test and we’ll reduce the number of vehicles damaged.”

Reynolds has been working on legislation that would grant county auditors the authority to test motor fuel for octane, water and sediment.

“I’ve spoken to several new state representatives and all have expressed interest in addressing real fuel quality testing. I don’t know how a single state representative can support a proposed gas tax increase without an accompanying measure that provides assurances on fuel quality for Ohio’s gas consumers,” Reynolds said. “I’m hopeful new legislation will be introduced soon.”

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