TULSA, Okla. — FOX23 found out when drivers buy gasoline many don't know exactly what you're pumping into your car even if you think you're buying gas that's ethanol-free.
FOX23's Janna Clark tested gas samples and found drivers don't always get what they pay for.
Even though it costs more, Dustin Conger filled up with 100 percent gas.
"If I use too much ethanol my car starts running rough. My check engine light will actually come on," said Conger.
"How do you know you're getting 100 percent gas?" asked Clark.
"I don't. I just have to trust," said Conger.
FOX23 pumped gas samples from several different stations that advertise ethanol-free gas and took the samples to Standard Supply Lawn and Garden in Owasso.
George Shouse checks gas for customers who are suspicious of what they bought.
"Do a lot of people ask you to do this?" asked Clark.
"More and more," said Shouse.
Shouse checked FOX23 samples using a glass vial, dropping in the right amount of water and gasoline and shaking it up.
He waited a few minutes until it settled.
"I would classify this as ethanol free. This is legit," he said.
But another sample FOX23 brought showed ethanol, almost 10 percent.
FOX23 went to 15 Green Country gas stations where the signs said ethanol-free or 100 percent gasoline. They took samples and used the glass vial process to test them, and only one station's sample showed ethanol.
“This is through no fault of the customer,’ said Shouse.
“You think you're paying for one thing and you end up with something else,” said Clark.
If that happens drivers aren’t only paying too much for the gas, if there's ethanol in the gas Shouse said it could cost in repairs, especially with older cars and any small engines, like a boat, motorcycle, chainsaw, trimmer or lawn mower.
“Have you seen gas with ethanol do damage?” asked Clark.
“We see it almost every day,” said Shouse.
He showed FOX23 damaged lawn equipment parts.
“It attacks anything that's rubber; it forms this white flaky stuff. What we call the white cancer or corrosion,” he said.
FOX23 went to the west Tulsa refinery, Holly Frontier, and learned they make the base octane.
It flows trhough the pipes and blends with ethanol or a higher octane to make 100 percent gas. Then it goes into the tanker truck.
FOX23 asked those who deliver the gas and gas stations owners who is to blame if customers get the wrong gas. They blamed each other.
The bottom line unless drivers do the vial test every time they get gas there's no way to know for sure.
FOX23 checked with the Corporation Commission and found out they do check gas stations for this and will go right away if they get a complaint.
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