Thursday, March 22, 2012
Quartzsite Chevron part 2
March 21st, 2012
Quartzsite, AZ--The Chevron station in question gets a passing grade by the Arizona Department of Weights and Measure (ADWM), indicating a maximum of 10% ethanol was tested by a third party laboratory in Phoenix. This was confirmed in a taped phone conversation today with Dan Egge, an investigator with ADWM.
But not so fast...says Dave Bertrand, after $1,500 dollars of chasing a mechanical problem for approximately three months as income allowed!
Engine acceleration problems, known as "stumbling," kept the local repair shop mechanics puzzled as computer tests did not pinpoint the reasons. From (2) fuel filter changes to oxygen sensors replaced and every other temperature sensor tested, including fuel pressure testing, the result was the same...very poor acceleration.
Just short of trashing the Tahoe for a replacement, my last option was a full diagnostic check with Bradley Chevrolet in Parker Arizona.
Jim Burdette, the Service Manager assured me they would find the problem. Leaving the vehicle overnight, I was hoping the $100 test would not reveal an engine overhaul was due or something similar.
The call from Jim sounded bad, but only because he said the complete test was negative, nothing out of the ordinary, but added..."We only had one last option and that was to test your fuel."
He asked where I was getting my fuel and you guessed it! The Chevron station in Quartzsite.
During the previous months of having acceleration problems, my paranoia of using cheap gas caused me to fill-up at the Chevron station, thinking that I could clean-out any dirty fuel that might be causing the problem. Well...to my astonishment, the knock over my head was worse than the $100 diagnostic test at Bradley.
Jim Burdette informed me that my fuel tested greater than 20% ethanol and that Bradley Chevrolet just had at least three other vehicles in the shop with similar problems and those customers said they used Chevron in Quartzsite. One other customer with the same problem used Chevron and other stations.
The solution and advice was to drop the fuel tank and replace the fuel with non-ethanol rated fuel for a while. Parker Oil on 95 north in Parker is the only station with non-ethanol fuel.
About $400 later, tank dropped and drained, I replaced the fuel with non-ethanol and the Tahoe did not miss a beat. My only mistake was not spending the $100 at Bradley for a full diagnostic check.
By now I was wondering if Chevron in Quartzsite was in-fact selling contaminated fuel. Were all the customers (I heard about) wondering as well? Then my Quartzsite mechanic began having engine problems and only used that Chevron...which prompted me to get a sample of fuel and take it to Bradley Chevrolet for testing.
On March 9th, I collected .633 gallon(s) from pump 5 and sealed the screw cap with tape and attached the receipt to the side of the container. The gas was tested by Bradley Chevrolet in three different beakers, using an approved testing method, and the lowest ethanol level was 17% and the highest 20%. The maximum allowable by any state is 10%, except for E85 fuel which is not sold at the Quartzsite Chevron.
The phone call from Jim Burdette set the stage for a series of events...
I contacted Dan Egge at ADWM and nearly had to threaten media action to get the state agency to return my calls. Finally, an inspector on a fuel testing assignment in Parker was re-directed to Quartzsite immediately.
I was waiting at the Chevron station as he pulled-in with his testing trailer tanks. He indicated to me that his findings would only be preliminary, but also stated the same directive that Dan Egge stated to me...if the sample taken on March 20th was over the ethanol limit, he would have the inspector drive the sample to Phoenix. Note: The fuel inspector (Bill) was originally heading to Yuma.
After taking a fuel sample from pump no. 1, he conducted an onsite assay test which a receipt type tape, printed the results.
I asked if the ethanol level is above 10% and he kind of smiled, but could not tell me the level. I asked if he was taking it to Phoenix and he said, "I'll know in a minute!"
I asked him, "I guess you can't tell me the ethanol level because it's now part of an investigation?" He replied..."Yes, you can assume that."
He was ordered to Phoenix and I was provided the lab tech's name and phone number before he departed.
Again, after several phone calls to ADWM for the results, Dan Egge called today, stating that a contract lab reported no more than 10% ethanol in that sample taken yesterday.
The third party laboratory that took the sample from ADWM was INSPECTORATE a subsidiary of Bureau Veritas Group Company, a world conglomerate with very close ties to BP, Texaco and Chevron.
They have over 600 laboratories around the world and offer quality control services to most every petroleum company, testing and preparing official reports for government(s).
Their contracts equate to the FDA relying on the pharma companies to do their own testing of the product they intend to get approval for!
Or...let's put it this way! Putting the fox in-charge of the hen house.
Will we ever know if the fuel sample is really tainted? Or do we accept what Dan Egge stated to me today, the fuel turn-over at many stations can be as much as three tankers arriving in a single day...therefore, any tainted fuel may not be detected.
Should we assume that Bill the fuel inspector needs glasses and or his testing equipment is faulty?
In today's world of corruption and corporate monopolies, the citizen is the last hope of justice, and because we were vigilant, and I was financially challenged in this event, the big corporation wins and ADWM gets-a-pat on the back by those (behind the scenes) right up to the main offices of Chevron and Shay Oil (station owner).
They dodged a bullet this time, but it's the last time I ever buy fuel at this Chevron in Quartzsite Arizona.