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Company explains issue behind bad gas at Southeast Georgia station

Fuel issues at Pilot Travel Center in St. Marys cost drivers hundreds of dollars

Bad gas? 15+ cars break down after filling up at Southeast Georgia gas station

ST MARYS, Ga. – After News4Jax reported over the weekend that the vehicles of around 20 drivers broke down shortly after purchasing gas at the Pilot Travel Center in St. Marys, the company issued a statement Tuesday, explaining what happened.

Pilot said it shut off the dispensers at the station on St. Marys Road as soon as it learned of the issue and started investigating.

“It appears excessive rain made its way into the regular unleaded tank, which is now in the process of being tested and repaired. Currently, all dispensers are operational and selling super unleaded fuel at the regular unleaded price until the situation is fully resolved. We are continuing to closely monitor the fuel at this location,” Pilot said in a statement.

The travel center is located at Exit 1 on I-95 in St. Marys.

The company asked anyone who purchased unleaded fuel at the location from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, who is having potential issues to please contact them at 877-866-7378 “so we can work to resolve your concerns.”

One woman told the News4Jax I-TEAM the ordeal has cost her hundreds of dollars. We asked Pilot if drivers would be reimbursed for repairs, and the company said yes.

Serena Brown, who lives in Jacksonville, said her truck broke down shortly after pulling out of the station.

“I called corporate and let them know about that,” Brown said. “They told us that we have to tow our vehicle at our own expense and they would get back to us. So I assumed they would get back to me today. Well, I didn’t hear from them so I called them myself.”

Now Brown said she’s forced to pay more than $800 combined in towing and repairs.

St. Marys Police Department investigates after reports of multiple cars breaking down after filling up at a Georgia gas station. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

St. Marys Police Department responded to the issue but the agency told News4Jax the state is now in charge of the investigation. The Department of Agriculture has a unit that regulates gas stations.

News4Jax asked a local mechanic about the issue. They said if it is a case of defective gas it can be repaired, but it isn’t an easy fix. The gas tank has to be removed and dropped and fuel filters need to be replaced and the majority of the cost would be the labor, the mechanic said.

Since news of the issue has spread people like Laura Moody also contacted News4Jax. Moody said she had something similar happen weeks ago.

“My car started having issues and my check engine light came on and I had to pull off on the side of the road,” Moody said.

News4Jax has also reached out to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

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Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.