Tainted Gas Being Sold During 'Pretty Bad Incident' In North Carolina

By Jason Hall

July 22, 2022

Man pumping gas
Photo: Getty Images

Tainted gas was being sold in North Carolina this week, according to state officials.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture inspector Marcus Helfrich told Queen City News that heavy rains led to water being found in gas tanks at the Circle K on Randolph Street in Thomasville in what he called a "pretty bad situation."

“With the heavy rains that have happened over the last week, we’ve seen an uptick…we’re seeing more phase separations at more gas stations,” Helfrich said.

Helfrich said that there's enough water to dilute the gasoline, with the gas acting as a top layer of the tank and an ethanol/water "cocktail" below it, which means people were putting water inside their vehicles.

“If you get too much water, the water will actually pull it out of the gasoline,” Helfrich said.

The inspector said there are "a lot of ways that water can get into an underground storage tank," with construction playing a factor as little micro-fissures can slip into the gasoline tank.

Older stations may also be prone to water slipping in if caps are loose.

The Circle K is currently limited to only selling 93 premium gasoline as it continues to fix the situation.

“They are working hard to get it cleared, so they can sell things. They are taking it pretty seriously. It was a pretty bad incident,” Helfrich said.

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