GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR) – Drivers making a pit stop at the Rodeo Corner Convenience Store in Guthrie early Wednesday experienced a different kind of ‘pain at the pump’: the station was mostly deserted after complaints of water found in the gas tanks at the fuel stop.
“I was [driving around] looking for a pump that didn’t have a sack over it,” said driver Karmin Grider, who had stopped to fill up at the location at I-35 and Seward Road.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) responded to a complaint about bad gas; 1.5 inches of water was found in the E-10 tank by an OCC Fuel Inspector, requiring the pumps to be temporarily shut down while the excess water was removed.
“They cannot resume fuel sales until our inspector goes up, checks all of the [repair] work done, reinspects the fuel, and then makes the final determination [about the station’s operational capacity],” said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the OCC.
Skinner said the pumps that were out of commission following Tuesday’s inspection are once again operational.
OCC fuel inspectors conducted 3,762 compliance inspections and found 230 water violations within the last fiscal year.
The issues started for the Guthrie gas station back in May when drivers began complaining to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission about bad gas.
A pump that was shut down at the station after that incident is also once again functioning.
KFOR spoke with the owner of the gas station by phone early Wednesday; Dharm Patel said the issues were due to heavy rains over the past several weeks, and he’s also out thousands of dollars.
“Just in product, I’ve lost about $40,000 in gas,” he said over the phone, also telling KFOR he was eager to get back in business.
“Accidents happen [and] I’m trying to take care of my customers as best as I can,” he added, saying his insurance company was assisting affected customers.
In an interview with KFOR, Skinner also said the issue with water in the tank likely was not intentional.
“There is a common myth that an unscrupulous operator at a service station will water down his or her fuel, [but] we’ve never found any evidence suggesting a deliberate act of adding water to a fuel tank,” he added.
The OCC said all gas pumps have an inspection sticker on them showing the phone number to call if there is a problem or question.