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;
• Look for the blue Weights and Measures sticker on the gas pump, which verifies that the pump has been inspected annually as required and found to be in proper working order.
• Make sure that the price display on the gas pump is set to zero before the attendant starts the pump; and
• Verify the price that the attendant tells you to pay by checking the display 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
Bergen County (201) 336-6424
Burlington County, (609) 265-5098
Camden County, (856) 374-6001
Cape May County, (609) 463-6472
Cumberland County, (856) 453-2203
Essex County, (973) 395-8350
Gloucester County, (856) 384-6855
Hudson County, (201) 319-3820
Hunterdon County, (908) 788-1249
Mercer County, (609) 989-6579
Middlesex County, (732) 745-3872
Monmouth County, (732) 431-7362
Morris County, (973) 285-2955
Ocean County, (732) 929-2166
Passaic County, (973) 305-5750
Salem County, (856) 339-8608
Somerset County, (908) 231-7125
Sussex County, (973) 948-5464
Union County, (908) 654-9845
Warren County, (908) 453-2828
Atlantic City, (609) 347-5527
Bayonne, (201) 858-6112
Camden City, (856) 968-4738
East Orange, (973) 266-5318
Elizabeth, (908) 820-4113
Hamilton (Mercer Co.), (609) 890-3595
Jersey City, (201) 547-5292
Linden, (908) 474-8403
Newark, (973) 733-6274
Nutley, (973) 284-4940
Paterson, (973) 321-1277
Trenton, (609) 989-3282

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