Refinery identifies source of contaminated gasoline

Published: Aug. 18, 2014 at 8:19 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 2:26 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Officials with Alon USA refinery have reason to believe that contaminated gas that affected dozens of cars came from their location in Big Spring.

However, since there are many points through the refinery's system that the gas could have become contaminated, they are still unsure where the problem came from.

Although it may seem like a rare incident, Blake Lewis with Alon says it's more common than you may think.

Just last May, Alon delivered contaminated gasoline to Abilene and last September in El Paso, where about 21 cars stalled outside a gas station.

Matthew Kendrick, vice president of Chisum Travel Center says they originally believed the gas contained too much water, but now says that after sending it off to a testing lab it does not look like water at all.

He said it may be awhile before they know the results.

The only gasoline the travel center had trouble with is the gasoline from the Alon refinery in Big Spring out of five different companies that deliver each day.

Jeffery Church is one customer whose car is still in the shop after he pumped the contaminated fuel into his 1988 Ford Mustang.

He was stranded about a quarter mile outside of the travel center for about two hours, and says when he examined the gasoline it looked like "dirty ditch water".

He said he will have between $1,200 to $1,500 worth of damage.

"It will make me wonder anytime I pump gas from now on, is it a good product?" he said. "It's not that I doubt what people are selling. It's just that once you get bit, you're a little snake bit for a while and it will take a little while to wear off."

Chisum Travel Center pumped the contaminated gas out of their 20,000 gallon tank shortly after the problem was discovered.

Right now Kendrick says he thinks about 15 to 20 cars were affected by it. Alon and the center are compiling information and receipts as they come in to make sure everyone receives a reimbursement for their damages.

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