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Customers at Pilot gas station in Central Point experience car trouble after receiving diesel fuel instead of regular gasoline

On Thanksgiving day, multiple customers who went to fill up their tanks at the Pilot in Central Point were met with misfortune, after discovering diesel fuel had gone into their tanks instead of regular gasoline.

Posted: Nov 30, 2021 1:44 PM
Updated: Nov 30, 2021 2:31 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- The holiday season comes with a number of expenses, but people don't typically expect to have the addition of car troubles. 

On Thanksgiving day, multiple customers who went to fill up their tanks at the Pilot in Central Point were met with misfortune, after discovering that diesel fuel had gone into their tanks instead of regular gasoline.

Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers in North America. In 2017, the company operated as the fourth-largest tanker fleet in the nation, with more than 1,000 trucks that travel more than 120 million miles per year, delivering more than 8 billion gallons of fuel.

CEO Jimmy Haslam leads the company, which has seen growth from 1.1 billion fuel gallons sold in 1996 to more than 7 billion sold annually today.

Though the company has been successful, some Central Point customers who got gas on Thanksgiving have grown frustrated and have contacted the corporate offices in hopes to get reimbursed in order to fill up their tanks with the correct fuel and to be paid for the cost of the damage done to their vehicles.

Since diesel fuel is thicker and denser than gasoline, a vehicle's fuel pump might struggle to move the diesel/gasoline mixture through the system, clogging the fuel filter.

NewsWatch 12 spoke with one customer, Sean Nell, who said his car wouldn't start following his fill up.

He took his vehicle for an assessment and service at Rogue Riderz Cycle and Automotive where he says the cost for repairs was around $300.

Newswatch 12 also spoke to Allen Peugh who drove from San Diego to visit in Medford and also filled up Thanksgiving day.

Peugh said his 2019 Mercedez Sprinter Van was able to drive much further than other cars that got diesel, ultimately resulting in the oil circulating through his motor, which he says could cost him up to $20,000.

Of five customers NewsWatch 12 spoke with, only one has told us of the possibility of getting reimbursed for the expenses related to fuel contamination.

After NewsWatch 12 made several calls to Pilot's corporate office, as instructed by managers at the Pilot in Central Point, Assistant Account Executive Andrew Kiddle emailed an official statement on behalf of Pilot Company that reads:

We are aware of a possible issue with regular unleaded fuel dispensed at the Pilot Travel Center located in Central Point, Ore., on Thursday, Nov. 25 that may have affected a few guests.

Upon being alerted to the potential issue, we immediately turned off the dispensers. The unleaded tank was pumped out and refilled. The fuel has been tested and currently all dispensers are operational.

The travel center is located at Exit 33 on Interstate 5 and the address is 1600 East Pine Street, Central Point, OR 97502. If you purchased unleaded fuel at this location on Nov. 25 from 5:25 to 8:00 pm ET, and are having potential issues, please contact us at (877) 866-7378 so we can work to resolve your concerns.

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