Southwest Florida drivers fear watered-down gas

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 22:34:26-04

A 4 In Your Corner investigation uncovered watered-down gas at a local gas station this week.

Experts say it could happen more now than any other time of the year.

"Nobody is immune from it, absolutely nobody is immune from it," said Terry Wynter, who owns his car repair business in Fort Myers. "If it happens, it happens," he added."

A Southwest Florida woman says she bought watered-down gas from the Sunoco gas station on the corner of Burnt Store Road and U.S. 41.

"My car still has two cups of water in the tank," said Shea Louis, after she got her 2017 Nissan Altima repaired from the gas.

Drivers worried after they discovered this fuel fiasco.

"I don't want to spend a bunch of money to fixing my car because there is water in the engine," said Nicholas Brienza, after he finished fueling up at a different gas station.

Wynter says it is not the first or last time watered-down gas sweeps into gas tanks.

"It happens a lot, not often, but it happens enough to be concerned about," said Wynter.

He says going to a high-end gas stations doesn't solve the problem either.

"It doesn't work that way, this particular gas station you thought was high end, could've had flooding the day before and you didn't know about it," said Wynter. "Water is in the tank, it's being pumped out, and everyone who bought gas the last 45 mins to an hour is calling back," he added.

Drivers should listen for sputtering, backfiring or stuttering sounds if you fueled up with what turns out to be watered-down gasoline. There is no other way to know if your car needs service until about 3 to 5 miles after riding away.

"You can't tell until you drive away, there's no way of knowing, it's impossible," said Wynter.

The first call drivers should make should to be where you bought the gas from. If you don't follow this protocol, Wynter says it might cost you hundreds of dollars.

"Protect yourself on this, don't take it upon yourself to get the car fixed and then trying to recoup your loss on this because the chance of it happening are slim," he said.