The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures was sampling the gas being sold at Quartzsite's only Chevron Station, today around noon.
Several people who have purchased gas there have had engine problems with vehicles that were still under warranty, and James Burdette, from the service department at Bradley Chevrolet in Parker, AZ told the Desert Freedom Press that Chevy requires them to test the fuel. It was discovered that multiple vehicles whose owners had gassed up at the Chevron in Quartzsite tested out with higher than legal levels of ethanol in their fuel tanks.
A local man whose vehicle may have been affected then purchased a gallon of gas and sealed it up, along with the receipt from Chevron. Bradley Chevrolet tested the sealed sample three times and it averaged out to about 20% ethanol. The state allows no more than 15% ethanol (for flex fuel vehicles only) and most stations sell fuel with no more than 10% ethanol. The Quartzsite Chevron does not sell E85 fuel with 15 % ethanol. According to Burdette, "The procedure is to fill a 100 milliliter beakers to 90 mil with the fuel sample, then add 10 mil of water, shake and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. The water will mix with the ethanol in the fuel and settle to the bottom. the amount of ethanol will be seen and relates to the percentage in the fuel. As seen in the pictures this fuel has about 18%. The max is supposed to be no more then 10%."
Burdette further states, " GM recommends that a customer use what is know as TOP TIER fuel to verify drivability issues, such as poor fuel economy and lack of power. If a vehicle is a flex fuel vehicle then high ethanol content will not be a factor, but if the vehicle is not made for flex fuel many problems can happen. Top tier fuels are normally found at a corporate station such as Chevron, Shell, Texaco etc. The problem is that just because a station shown to be one of these stations does not mean that it is a corporately operated station. Independent stations are owned by individuals and can purchase some of there fuel from an outside source, and this fuel source can be the reason for high ethanol in the fuel.
The State Department of Weights and Measures was notified and sent their Parker investigator out to sample the fuel today. He immediately took the evidence to their Phoenix Office and we are currently awaiting further information as to the results of this investigation.