Cars filled with furnace oil in Summerside gas station mix-up

Some drivers who thought they were getting regular gasoline were actually fuelled with furnace oil after a delivery error at a Summerside gas station Thursday morning, according to the station's owner.

Lockhart's Auto Service said the mix-up occurred when their fuel supplier put the wrong products in the wrong storage tanks.

"When we got our fuel delivery [Thursday] morning, they just accidentally put the regular gas in the furnace oil tank and the furnace oil in the regular tank, and we didn't realize this until we filled a few cars with the contaminated fuel before we stopped filing them," said Dwight Lockhart, owner and operator of Lockhart's.

Lockhart said the station filled seven or eight cars with furnace oil before the error was realized.

"Some of them might have had engine damage, so it's a case-by-case basis I guess, they just determine what's wrong and make repairs to bring it back to the condition before the fuel was put in it," said Lockhart.

'We're both pretty stressed out'

Ashley Costiff said her partner, Jordan Yeo, stopped at Lockhart's to put gas in their shared truck at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

She said he filled the tank, charged the fuel to his employer and left to go to his job sites.

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"As he was going down the road, the engine started to knock really bad, and he lost all power in his vehicle, so he had to shut the engine off and pull over," said Costiff.

She said Yeo was able to restart the truck after a few minutes, but could not drive over 30 km/h without the engine knocking. He had just pulled into the dealership when he got a call from his employer to say there had been a mix-up at Lockhart's and he had furnace oil, not regular gasoline, in his fuel tank.

"It's affected us like mentally and physically, we're both pretty stressed out," said Costiff.

"It's kind of a day by day until we actually know what's going to be happening with our truck and how long it's going to take to fix it, if they can fix it," said Costiff. "Last we heard, if they have to replace everything, including the whole engine, gaskets, you know, it's going to cost us $16,000."

Expensive mistake

Lockhart said they've been operating for 40 years and this is the first time this has occurred.

Ashley Costiff/Submitted

He said most of the affected vehicles are owned by regular customers and they were able to track down everyone affected by the contaminated fuel. He said no one purchased fuel from the furnace oil tank, which had been filled with gasoline.

Lockhart said both his furnace oil and regular gasoline tanks have been flushed out by their supplier and business is back to normal. He said the cost to empty, flush and replenish the tanks is likely in the thousands of dollars, but the biggest loss to the fuel station could be in lost business due to the incident.

"People make mistakes I guess," said Lockhart.

Lockhart told CBC News the supplier has accepted liability, but when contacted a representative of the supplier told CBC News the incident is under investigation and declined to comment.

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