LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A San Fernando Valley gas station may be costing drivers a lot more than $4 a gallon with a watered-down product.
A Valero station in Chatsworth has discovered a bad mix of gasoline in its pumps that could cause expensive damage to customers’ cars.
One family told KCAL 9′s Juan Fernandez the problem began immediately after filling up at the station at De Soto and Nordhoff.
“I drove less than a mile down De Soto and my car stopped working,” said Joni Merida. “I pressed on the gas, it wouldn’t go, I knew I was having a problem.”
Merida took her 2009 Corolla to the dealership and found out what was causing the problem.
“They gave us a call and told us, ‘There is water in your gas’,” she said. “So I knew right away it’s the Valero gas station that I went to.”
The Merida family is now driving a rental car while their vehicle is being repaired.
Jeff, the manager at the station, said a shipment of gas that came in earlier Wednesday had higher-than-normal concentrations of ethanol — the corn-based biofuel used as a clean-burning additive to gas.
Studies show that at excessive levels, ethanol can cause engines to run improperly and damage rubber hoses, gaskets and engine parts.
Valero officials said ethanol lowers the octane level of the gas, and have offered an octane booster for all customers who filled up at the station on Wednesday.