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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
August 30, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director

 

Jeff Lamm, Genene Morris
973-504-6327

 

Attorney General Harvey and Consumer Affairs Shut Buena Vista Station for Selling Contaminated Gasoline

NEWARK — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the Office of Weights and Measures in the Division of Consumer Affairs has shut down the pumps at a Buena Vista gas station following discovery that the station was selling contaminated gasoline below the octane rating displayed to customers.

The Lukoil gas station, located at 1335 Harding Highway, will remain shut until all the gasoline in the station’s storage tanks is removed. Weights and Measures inspectors will then retest new gasoline delivered to the station and verify that proper octane levels are met.

Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts stated that, in response to a complaint from a consumer, the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures inspectors tested the super unleaded gasoline at the station. The super unleaded was found to have an 81-octane rating, far below the 93-octane rating displayed on the dispensing pump. The station’s regular unleaded also was tested and found to have an 83-octane rating rather than the 87-octane rating displayed on the pump.

“We consistently protect consumers’ pocketbooks, especially for goods and services that are essential to our lives. Bad gas is a defective product that can cause major damage to engines. With replacement engines costing thousands of dollars, deceiving consumers by selling low-octane gasoline is both costly and dangerous. We are seeking the maximum penalties allowed,” Attorney General Harvey said.

State inspectors acting under the authority of the Attorney General sealed off all pumps at the gas station on Wednesday, Aug. 24. The owner of the Lukoil station, S&S Petroleum, faces a $250 to $1,000 penalty for a first offense, under state regulations. Subsequent violations carry a $1,000 to $5,000 penalty, with jail time possible as well.

At least one driver noticed how badly his vehicle reacted to the super unleaded gasoline after stopping at the Lukoil station and contacted the State Office of Weights and Measures.

“We encourage motorists to contact the State or their local Weights and Measures Office to report any suspected violations occurring at gas stations,” Consumer Affairs Director Ricketts said. “Weights and Measures inspectors regularly check gas stations and they will also respond to specific complaints, as happened in this instance.”

Ricketts added that motorists can take the following actions when purchasing gasoline:

  • Check that the per-gallon price displayed on the roadside sign matches the per-gallon price setting on the pump;
  • Look for the blue Weights and Measures sticker on the gas pump, which verifies that the pump has been inspected annually as required and found to be in proper working order.
  • Make sure that the price display on the gas pump is set to zero before the attendant starts the pump; and
  • Verify the price that the attendant tells you to pay by checking the display on the pump.

The State Office of Weights and Measures, located in Avenel, can be contacted at 732-815-4840. The list of municipal and county Offices of Weights and Measures is below, along with contact telephone numbers:

  Municipal and County Offices of Weights and Measures
  Atlantic County
  609-345-6700
  Bergen County
  201-336-6424
  Burlington County
  609-265-5098
  Camden County
  856-374-6001
  Cape May County
  609-463-6472
  Cumberland County
  856-453-2203
  Essex County
  973-395-8350
  Gloucester County
  856-384-6855
  Hudson County
  201-319-3820
  Hunterdon County
  908-788-1249
  Mercer County
  609-989-6579
  Middlesex County
  732-745-3872
  Monmouth County
  732-431-7362
  Morris County
  973-285-2955
  Ocean County
  732-929-2166
  Passaic County
  973-305-5750
  Salem County
  856-339-8608
  Somerset County
  908-231-7125
  Sussex County
  973-948-5464
  Union County
  908-654-9845
  Warren County
  908-453-2828
  Atlantic City
  609-347-5527
  Bayonne
  201-858-6112
  Camden City
  856-968-4738
  East Orange
  973-266-5318
  Elizabeth
  908-820-4113
  Hamilton (Mercer Co.)
  609-890-3595
  Jersey City
  201-547-5292
  Linden
  908-474-8403
  Newark
  973-733-6274
  Nutley
  973-284-4940
  Paterson
  973-321-1277
  Trenton   609-989-3282

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