Dozens Of Cars Break Down In Colorado After Mistakingly Filling Up With Diesel, But It’s Not What You Think

There aren't cases of driver error

It’s something you probably don’t think about, but the results can be devastating when it happens. If you drive a gasoline-powered car, it’s obviously not a good idea to fill it up with diesel fuel. Most pumps are actually designed so you don’t accidentally fill up with the wrong fuel, in part by making diesel pump handles green and gasoline handles black or red in the United States. Accidents do happen, and every once in awhile someone could fill up their gasoline car with diesel. But what happens when it’s not your fault your car ends up with a tank full of diesel?

In Colorado, that’s exactly what happened recently, according to a FOX31 report. Dozens of drivers in Boulder County are facing major mechanical issues after inadvertently putting diesel into their gasoline-powered vehicles.

Take the case of Dani Alexander, for instance. She said her 2015 Subaru Forester started lugging and chugging almost immediately after she filled up at a local Circle K. “I got gas and about three blocks later, my car started lugging and chugging,” she said. “It’s a really good car and I just got it tuned up on Friday.” The gas station referred Alexander to Travelers insurance, which paid out more than $1,100 for the mistake.

“They did admit it was their mistake. That they has been delivered bad gas that had diesel in it, and that’s where the plumes of black smoke were coming from.” Affected owners started a Facebook group devoted to the problem, and hope to be reimbursed for repairs and their lost time.

2016 Subaru Forester

Problems down the road?

According to the report and Dani Alexander’s account, it sounds like most drivers only realized the problem when they drove away. That’s far from ideal, since diesel getting into a gasoline fuel system can cause serious damage to the engine. It’s even worse if you put gasoline into a diesel engine, so it’s obviously an accident you don’t want to make yourself.

However, for these owners the problem is even worse in that they went to fill up with gasoline and ended up with diesel due for some unknown reason. Recent stories covering the issue point to a mistake from a third-party vendor, who filled gasoline storage tanks with diesel instead. That’s a terrible situation, since the driver has little way of knowing their fuel is bad.

Circle K could not be reached for comment, at time of writing.

Editor’s Note: For its part, at least the insurance company is helping pay for the claims. Accidents will happen, but as it’s going on in our back yard, we definitely feel for our friends and neighbors whose cars may break down after they fill up at a local gas station.

H/T to FOX31, The Drive for the information.