Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
Kimberly Ricketts, Director
For Immediate Release:
August 30, 2005
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, Genene Morris, 973-504-6327
Attorney General Harvey and Consumer Affairs Shut Buena Vista Station
For Selling Contaminated Gasoline
NEWARK — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the Office of Weights and Measures in the Division of Consumer Affairs has shut down the pumps at a Buena Vista gas station following discovery that the station was selling contaminated gasoline below the octane rating displayed to customers.
The Lukoil gas station, located at 1335 Harding Highway, will remain shut until all the gasoline in the station’s storage tanks is removed. Weights and Measures inspectors will then retest new gasoline delivered to the station and verify that proper octane levels are met.
Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts stated that, in response to a complaint from a consumer, the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures inspectors tested the super unleaded gasoline at the station. The super unleaded was found to have an 81-octane rating, far below the 93-octane rating displayed on the dispensing pump. The station’s regular unleaded also was tested and found to have an 83-octane rating rather than the 87-octane rating displayed on the pump.
"We consistently protect consumers’ pocketbooks, especially for goods and services that are essential to our lives. Bad gas is a defective product that can cause major damage to engines. With replacement engines costing thousands of dollars, deceiving consumers by selling low-octane gasoline is both costly and dangerous. We are seeking the maximum penalties allowed," Attorney General Harvey said.
State inspectors acting under the authority of the Attorney General sealed off all pumps at the gas station on Wednesday, Aug. 24. The owner of the Lukoil station, S&S Petroleum, faces a $250 to $1,000 penalty for a first offense, under state regulations. Subsequent violations carry a $1,000 to $5,000 penalty, with jail time possible as well.
At least one driver noticed how badly his vehicle reacted to the super unleaded gasoline after stopping at the Lukoil station and contacted the State Office of Weights and Measures.
"We encourage motorists to contact the State or their local Weights and Measures Office to report any suspected violations occurring at gas stations," Consumer Affairs Director Ricketts said. "Weights and Measures inspectors regularly check gas stations and they will also respond to specific complaints, as happened in this instance."
Ricketts added that motorists can take the following actions when purchasing gasoline:
• Check that the per-gallon price displayed on the roadside sign matches the per-gallon price setting on the pump;
The State Office of Weights and Measures, located in Avenel, can be contacted at 732-815-4840. The list of municipal and county Offices of Weights and Measures is below, along with contact telephone numbers:
Atlantic County, (609) 345-6700
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