On December 4, 2012, Zephyr Oil–a Brooklyn-based gasoline distributor–purchased over 70,000 gallons of gas. Except, incredibly unusually, this was not ordinary gasoline. It was avgas, or a kind of aviation fuel. In contrast with regular gasoline, which is obviously acceptable for use in regular automobiles, avgas contains a substance called “tetraethyl lead.” The chemical is both highly toxic and dangerous for use in cars. It damages both catalytic converters and oxygen sensors found in engines. And, for purposes of comparison, while premium unleaded gas is ordinarily 93-octane fuel, the avgas is 104.7-octane fuel.
On the day Zephyr purchased the stock of plane fuel, it turned around and sold it to Pasmel gas stations–suspiciously, the state says, at a significantly lower price than the market price for regular motor fuel.
“We allege that these gas stations clearly knew, or should have known,” New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said, “they were selling aviation fuel that contains toxic lead, while advertising it as unleaded gasoline for motorists.”
The Pasmel stations wound up advertising the avgas as unleaded regular, plus, and premium gasoline for cars. Consequently, the state has filed a civil suit against Pasmel Properties, Inc. and six Pasmel gas stations in Mercer, Monmouth, Somerset, and Union counties. According to the state, Zephyr used Lee Transport to move the avgas to the Pasmel stations–and alleges that all three companies are complicit. The state asserts that these entities violated both state and federal statutes involving both consumer protection in general and car safety in particular.
Each identified the substance as “avgas” on documents and invoices related to the sale. Complaints by motorists involving this incident can be filed with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by calling 1-800-242-5846 or by visiting the agency’s website.
For more, see the full article on NJ.com.
If you have questions about this or other types of possible exposures, please contact us at 609-246-0668.