TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With a big portion of the Tampa Bay area under evacuation orders right now, you’ll need your car to work. That’s why word of tainted gas at more than a dozen Tampa Bay area gas stations is especially concerning since it can stop your car in its tracks.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said fuel supplied by CITGO was contaminated, and it can potentially damage your engine. And as Floridians brace for a hurricane, there’s concern some drivers could be stranded.
Chris Shavers said his car is sounding funny and he’s concerned.
“It was Saturday afternoon actually, about 2 o’clock,” Shavers said. “It’s been ju ju ju ju ju ju.”
“It will hiccup, run a little rough maybe, spit and sputter,” said Dusty Cox, the manager at Olin Mott Tire Center & Auto Repairs.
State officials say the contamination occurred at the CITGO terminal at the Port of Tampa. The cause? Human error.
“It has nothing to do with the storm, but it’s happening right on the eve of the storm,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday.
Port Tampa Bay provides nearly half the fuel for the entire state of Florida. They are a major energy gateway. While CITGO is located here, Port officials tell 8 On Your Side, they have no oversight over CITGO, and that CITGO owns the land and hires the people. We were told to direct questions about what went wrong to them.
A CITGO spokesman tells 8 On Your Side, they’re “conducting a complete review” of the “product routing issue at the terminal.”
Now state officials are inspecting nearly 30 gas stations, including 13 in Tampa Bay. If you filled up at one of the stations after 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26, beware.
Wilton Simpson, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner, is investigating the matter. He said as of Monday evening, his agency has received more than 1,600 complaints from consumers.
“My office will obtain all of the records and determine what went wrong. Clearly we don’t want this to happen again,” said Simpson. “CITGO has been very forthright on this issue.”
A CITGO spokesman tells 8 On Your Side, if your vehicle was damaged as a result of this gas, they’ll pick up the bill.
“If a consumer believes they purchased contaminated fuel (gasoline or diesel) on or after Saturday Aug. 26, they can initiate a claim through the CITGO Good Gas Guarantee program.
If and when you hit car trouble, Cox says find a safe spot and pull over.
Here is the list of affected gas stations:
- Big Dan’s Car Wash: 39522 US Highway 19 N., Tarpon Springs
- 7-Eleven: 3437 US Highway 19, Holiday
- 7-Eleven: 13411 Fish Hawk Boulevard, Lithia
- 7-Eleven: 4325 Lee Boulevard, Lehigh Acres
- 7-Eleven: 12750 South Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers
- 7-Eleven: 290 Lakeland Park Road, Lakeland
- 7-Eleven: 720 Chiquita Boulevard, North Cape Coral
- 7-Eleven: 2604 Skyline Boulevard, Cape Coral
- 7-Eleven: 940 S Broad St., Brooksville
- 7-Eleven: 1626 Meadow Road, Lehigh Acres
- 7-Eleven: 2401 James Redman Parkway, Plant City
- 7-Eleven: 601 Pine Island Rd. S.W., Cape Coral
- 7-Eleven: 6050 Dean Dairy Road, Zephyrhills
- 7-Eleven: 714 Burnt Store Road, Cape Coral
- BJ’s Wholesale: 1929 Pine Island Road N.E., Cape Coral
- BJ’s Wholesale: 9372 Ben C Pratt Six Mile Cypress Pkwy., Fort Myers
- BJ’s Wholesale: 13585 NE 86th Path, Lady Lakes
- Handy Foods Store #86: 21321 Palm Beach Blvd., Alva
- Handy Foods Store #87: 3205 Lee Blvd., Lehigh Acres
- Superday CITGO: 1595 South McCall Road, Port Charlotte
- Bolton One LLC: 15434 US Highway 19, Hudson
- JHW #310 – DBA Avenue CITGO: 11867 N. Williams St., Dunellon
- AL Prime – Daytona Beach: 1898 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach
- Quick & Easy Stop: 4529 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota
- Palmers Easy Stop: 903 Cattleman Rd., Sarasota
- Faulkenburg CITGO: 5320 Faulkenburg Road, Tampa
- Choice Food & Gas: 310 N Central Ave., Umatilla
- 2K Express 5: 6202 N 40th St., Tampa
- Perfection Station 5: 9931 N Florida Ave., Tampa
If you have been affected, you can call 1-800-HELP-FLA or file a complaint online at www.fdacs.gov.
If you have a tip or comment, email Mahsa at MSaeidi@WFLA.com