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State halts fuel sales at Romeo Shell station accused of selling bad gas

Gasoline Quality
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 18:44:20-05

ROMEO, Mich. (WXYZ) — Bad Gasoline. It’s a growing concern - especially when prices are on the rise. Well, multiple people have been reporting getting bad gas from the Shell station on Main Street in Romeo.

We were alerted to a growing problem on the Macomb County Scanner Facebook page.

The post alerted people to reports of cars getting engine issues after filling up the Shell on 32 Mile and Main Street over the weekend.

Jeffrey Mackert said he’s not surprised because the exact thing happened to him nearly one year ago at the same location.

“So we end up filling up, we went back to the job. As we’re getting ready to leave the car started, like, sputtering, backfiring, like it wouldn’t really stay on,” he says.

They had to get it towed to a mechanic.

“He ended up calling us and said, 'you know, you have water in the gas and whatnot, we’re going to have to drop your tank, we’re going to have to do a tune-up and all these fun things',” Mackert says.

Mackert also filed a report with the Department of Agriculture, who tested the gas at the station. The results came back - 3 inches of water were found in the gas station's tank. Mackert says he tried to get his money back.

“At first the gas station owner, he was alright with, he said, you know, ‘Bring me the paperwork. I’ll reimburse you.' Then it went to we have to fill it out through our insurance. So that was another month,” Mackert says.

Mackert estimates he lost over 12 hundred dollars. It’s been nearly a year and he says he hasn’t received anything.

I went to the gas station to try to speak with the owner. The manager who identified himself as James called the owner on the phone. then hung up and told me to leave.

The manager refused to give me the contact for the owner and he asked me to leave the premises.

So I reached out to the Michigan Department of Agriculture to see if they had received any reports recently about bad gas at this specific Shell station in Romeo. They said no, but after I told them about what I was hearing, they sent an inspector.

That inspector tested the gas and Jennifer Holton with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development got back to me right away.

“In one of the storage tanks, it did contain 3 inches of water,” Holton told us.

This is above the legal limit. I asked her what happens now.

“No regular or mid-grade 89 gas will be permitted until the water is removed from the underground storage tank,” she says.

She said inspectors will be back next week to follow up.

I also asked her what people who have been harmed can do.

“If you suspect that there’s bad gas, number one, always keep a receipt,” Holton says. “Number two, contact MDARD. We have a complaint form on our website or you can call 1-800-MDA-FUEL.”

I asked Mackert what he’d like to see come out of him speaking out.

“I’d like to see people not go through the hardship I went through with this," he says. "The owner needs to be held accountable. If you’re selling a bad product, you need to take care of it.”