Lee France

Lee France

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Aggieland Gas Station Sells Bad Gas

A Texas A&M student says a batch of bad gasoline purchased at a local convenience store left him stranded on the side of the road, and the owners have yet to pay for the repairs.

Neil Wu says he stopped at the Tigerland Express convenience store on Wellborn Road and Rock Prairie Road in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 7th.

Minutes later, his car broke down in the middle of the road.

"I shut off the car, tried to turn on the engine, and all it did was make a clicking sound like it had a dead battery," said Wu.

The 21-year-old accounting major says a mechanic confirmed water was in the gasoline. Repair costs totaled $450.

"For a college student, that's a lot of money. There's a lot I can do with that money," he said.

The owners of Tigerland Express promised to pay for the repairs, but Wu is still waiting for that money to arrive.

KBTX's Rusty Surette went to the business this week to find out why there is a 3-month delay for the reimbursement check.

An employee of Tigerland Express said the insurance company it uses is still processing paperwork, and the money should be paid out soon.

The same employee confirmed bad gasoline was sold to multiple drivers on that same day back in April, and the station was forced to temporarily close its pumps.

In May, another Texas A&M student told KBTX she purchased bad gas from Tigerland Express and repairs totaled nearly $2,000 for her jeep.At least 17 drivers had an issue with gasoline purchased that day.

Consumers who experience this are urged to immediately file a complaint with the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Click here for the online complaint form.

It turns out the state's efforts to crack down on bad fuel is not as strong as it once was, thanks in part to a new law passed by the legislature in 2017. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said state lawmakers tied their hands when it comes to investigating bad fuel.

"For the consumer they're getting ripped off," said Miller. House Bill 2174 requires the Texas Department of Agriculture to hire third party inspectors to look into bad fuel. Before, Miller could send inspectors immediately to a station to pull samples.

“This new bill takes that authority away from us," said Miller. Now, it could take ten days.

"I don't think that station's intentionally do it, but sometimes they're not as careful as they should. We get a lot of it after a big rain or flood and water seeps into the underground tanks. We had a huge surge of complaint after Hurricane Harvey," said Miller.

House Bill 2174 was heavily supported by the Texas Food and Fuel Association. Commissioner Miller said he plans to address the inspection problems during the next legislative session.

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