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June 15, 2004

My Car Had Bad Gas

I don't know if you've heard about the problem with contaminated gasoline that has happened in Florida and other southern states, but I'm one of the unfortunate 12,000 or so people whose gas gauges have been destroyed because of it. Damn you, Shell!!

The ironic thing (take heed, Alanis) about it is that up until about three months ago, I was buying the cheap gasoline at Hess. I only switched to Shell gasoline because the Saturn dealer recommended its usage (due to some additive called "Techron" or "Tekron" or "L. Ron" or something; it's supposed to be good for the car's engine). And about 4-6 weeks after I make the switch, I get a tank full of bad gas.

I knew something was wrong when my gas gauge read 1/4 tank left and I had only gone 110 miles. At first I thought that my car was suddenly only getting about 10 mpg, which wouldn't shock me, really, because at the best of times the stupid thing only gets 20 mpg (even on the highway). It's the only thing I dislike about my car, but it's enough of an issue that I won't be buying it after my lease is up.

Anyway, the light came on to let me know I only had one gallon of gas left, so I went to the Shell station to fill 'er up. Only ... I only needed 8 gallons. My tank holds 15 gallons. Hmm, that's odd. I started up the car and the needle didn't even go all the way up to F, even though I knew very well it was full.

So I figured the gas gauge had somehow broken. I called the Saturn dealer to make an appointment to bring 'er in, and the service manager asked me where I get gasoline. So I told him, and that's when he told me about the contaminated gas thing. Which had apparently been in the news for at least two weeks. I guess I need to start reading the newspaper more.

The Saturn guy gave me an 800-number to call Shell and start the claim process, because Saturn won't fix the gas gauge under their standard warranty. Which makes sense; I have no problem with that. The estimated cost of repairs is $450-500. I called Shell and started the claim process, and a risk management agent working with the company called me yesterday to verify my information.

Shell has a list of repair shops that will fix my car without needing an estimate (I guess Shell has a deal with them), but since my Saturn dealer isn't on that list - and I don't let anyone else touch my car - I now have to have an appraiser come out and meet me at the Saturn dealer when I take the car in for the official estimate for repairs. My hope is that the appraiser will then just pay the bill themselves, rather than requiring me to pay and then reimbursing me. Because if it goes THAT way, I'm going to require Shell to reimburse me for the interest that will be accruing on my credit card account between the day I pay for the repair and the day I receive their reimbursement check. Because you just know it will take them weeks to get that check out.

The only thing I'm vague on at this point is if Shell will ask me to sign some sort of waiver against future claims. Which I won't do. I have no way of knowing whether or not that bad gasoline might have damaged something else in my car that hasn't yet completely broken or failed. I'll ask my Saturn dealer about the likelihood of that, but still, I'm not going to sign anything.

Posted by Highwaygirl on June 15, 2004 08:42 AM to the category Randomness

And now I'm thankful that I don't have any Shell stations on my regular routes.

Posted by: rappy at June 15, 2004 03:29 PM

$%^&*%$# Shell ##@#$%
Bad gas, bad gauges, possible other problems down the road, claim paperwork, time off from work for the adjuster and to get the car fixed....... I don't envy you in all this.

Posted by: lifeonhold at June 15, 2004 04:46 PM
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