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June 2, 2008: Bad Shell

KATU.COM, Portland, Oregon: June 2, 2008

Drivers: Shell follows bad gas with bad service

Drivers: Shell follows bad gas with bad service

Snohomish Shell station where the bad gas was sold

Story Updated: Jun 2, 2008 at 9:33 AM PDT

By Nicole Sanchez

SEATTLE – Some local drivers whose car engines were badly damaged by bad gasoline last weekend say they’re frustrated with how Shell Oil is treating them. 

They say they have to pay all of the repair costs up front – and still aren’t guaranteed they’ll be reimbursed. Mechanics are having a hard time fixing the cars because they’ve never seen contaminated gas like this before.

“We’re frustrated – not happy – with Shell,” says Dave Trengrove, whose wife filled up last Sunday at the Shell station in Snohomish.

She wasn’t even able to make it out of the station before the car died – and she wasn’t alone.

“Somebody just put gas in their RV – they were never even able to start the RV and move out of the gas station,” says Trengrove.

At least 10 cars had problems after several stations in the area received the contaminated gas. Shell Oil says the gas was mixed with water – then distributed from a terminal in seattle. But some mechanics say they’re not so sure this is just water.

“You know, we’ve never seen anything at this level before,” says Brian Rex, owner of Fleet Service. “We’ve had contaminated gas, but never at this level before.”

Examination of the contaminated gas shows it contains a mucky sludge. About 14 gallons of the sludge was found in Trengtive’s car.

The auto shop says Shell Oil will not pick up the contaminated gas. And since they don’t know what’s in it, they may have to pay to have a hazardous material crew to safely get rid of it.

In the meantime, drivers like Trengove are left without a car – and without answers. What they do have are bills that are adding up – bills they’re not even sure Shell Oil will take care of.

Trengrove said a Shell Oil representative told him that they would not talk to him until he has all his repair receipts, and even then there was no understanding that he would be reimbursed for all the charges.

KOMO News attempted to talk with Shell Oil about these concerns, but the calls have not been returned.

Meanwhile, other people who got the contaminated gas say they are running into similar problems.

One family finally got their car fixed – but it cost them more than $2,000, and they have not yet been reimbursed. 

They also say they’re mechanic told them he too has never seen contamined gas quite like this. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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