Consumers thought they were filling their cars with ordinary, unleaded gasoline.  But, six New Jersey gas stations allegedly sold aviation fuel instead.  Now, those gas stations, their parent company and two fuel distribution firms are being sued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

"We allege that these gas stations clearly knew, or should have known, they were selling aviation fuel that contains toxic lead, while advertising it as unleaded gasoline for motorists," said Attorney General Jeff Chiesa.  "We will pursue restitution for any consumer, if it is demonstrated that this aviation fuel damaged their vehicles.  Just as importantly, we are holding these gas stations and the distributors responsible for their alleged, unlawful deception and potential harm to the public."

Toxic Substance Can Damage Cars

The gas stations in Mercer, Monmouth, Somerset and Union counties, allegedly received a total of nearly 65,000 gallons of 100 octane aviation gasoline, or avgas, from a fuel distributor between December 6 and December 7, 2012.  Avgas is used to power piston-engined aircraft.  Unlike motor fuel, it contains tetraethyl lead, which is a toxic substance that can damage cars.

The complaint names Pasmel Property, Inc. of Freehold and six Pasmel-owned gas stations: 

  1. Dannika in North Plainfield;
  2. Express Fuel in Trenton;
  3. Keyport Delta;
  4. Manasquan Lukoil;
  5. Lawrenceville Lukoil;
  6. Scotch Plains Lukoil;
  7. Brooklyn-based Zephyr Oil;
  8. Pittsgrove-based Lee Transport.

The suit alleges that the gas stations advertised the avgas to consumers as unleaded regular, plus or premium motor fuel.  The state alleges that the customers unknowingly purchased the avgas and faced a potential risk of significant problems with their vehicles.

In addition, the state alleges that Zephyr Oil and Lee Transport violated the Consumer Fraud Act by selling and/or distributing leaded aviation fuel that they knew would be advertised and sold to consumers as unleaded gasoline.

Any consumers who believe they purchased fuel from these six gas stations between December 6 and December 8 are asked to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846, especially if a vehicle may have been damaged as a result.