Kum' N Go Accidentally Gives You Diesel, Makes Your Gasoline Car Sad

Reader James said that a trucker dumped diesel fuel in the wrong tank at a distribution center, and this caused a bit of a problem because (as you might imagine) gasoline cars won’t run on diesel. The gas station in question, Kum ‘N Go, is compensating James for his mechanic’s bills, but he wanted to let other drivers know what to do if this happens to them.

I thought I’d let you guys in on a nasty little surprise I was involved in over the weekend. I filled up my car at my usual gas station in Springfield, MO, started driving across the state to see my family, and noticed about halfway home that my car was acting funny. When I got home, the car died in the driveway. The mechanic who we took the car to told me it was filled with diesel.

Turns out, a local distribution center had a trucker dump diesel into a regular gas tank. That gas then got sent to an unknown amount of local gas stations. At least one other gas station besides the one I used were confirmed to have the contaminated gas. Interestingly, the other gas station got the fuel at 7:30 am and shut the pumps down by 8:30. My gas station, however, was still pumping out diesel at 11:52.

Anywho, the gas station I fueled up at, Kum ‘n’ Go, is paying for repairs. So, if anyone in the Springfield area (or anywhere, in general) happens to end up with a load of diesel by accident, go back to your gas station and demand a compensation. I’m waiting on my check now.

Yikes! It’s nice to know that not only does Kum ‘N Go have the best name of any gas station we’ve ever seen, but that they own up to their mistakes, too.

(Photo: SA_Steve )

Comments

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  1. Zerkaboid says:

    Good for them for taking care of the bills. Has anyone heard of this happening before? Is it at all a common mistake? Also, Kum’ N Go is an unfortunate name for, well, anything.

  2. Gann says:

    Man, James got screwed. That gas station really bent him over.

  3. PunditGuy says:

    They’re common in Missouri; in college, we referred to them as “Ejaculate and Evacuate.”

  4. JamesS says:

    Yay, you published my email.

    I thought I’d add that the manager at the gas station could not have been more helpful about the matter. It caught me off guard, what with all these horror stories Consumerist posts.

  5. Chongo says:

    well, at least he didn’t take it on the chin and got fair compensation

  6. shadowboxer524 says:

    I’ve always been partial to Jizz and Split.

  7. MaliBoo Radley says:

    On our way from Kentucky to Texas, my husband and I drove through Missouri. We stopped in a Kum n’ Go. We giggled. I bought a t-shirt. My husband actually wears it sometimes. Hilari-o.

  8. Am I wrong in recalling that if diesel goes into a gas car, it produces a crap load of smoke out of your exhaust?

  9. AaronZ says:

    Wow, and I thought “Sheetz” (In the northeast) was an unfortunate name.

  10. Spyrojoe says:

    It blows my mind that there is actually someone out there that didn’t catch the double entendre.

  11. ElizabethD says:

    aka “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.”

  12. blue_duck says:

    @Neophiliack: I’ve never heard of it before.

  13. bologna_wallet says:

    Their tire air station is referred to as Blow-n-Go

  14. Shappie says:

    This happened in Des Moines, Iowa with QuickTrip. Tanker put diesl into the unleaded tank and about 6 cars died within 2 blocks of the station after filling up from empty tanks. They had the pumps shut off within 20 minutes of it happening and they all got reimbursed.

  15. campredeye says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a…

    I don’t believe diesel is burnable by a normal internal combustion engine. Most people don’t even realize that diesel vehicles don’t have spark plugs, their combustion comes purely from extreme compression and explosion of the diesel fuel.

  16. Shappie says:

    @PunditGuy:

    I like to refer to the stations around my house as “Jizz & Split”

  17. chipslave says:

    There is a station here that is named Pump & Munch. Ah… the double entendres!

  18. Snullbug says:

    I live in Iowa, when I have visitors from out of state I always stop at Kum ‘n Go and watch the jaws drop.

  19. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Good thing he didnt have to turn the other cheek.

  20. Puck says:

    I still find it funny that at a Kum & Go, the trucker put it into the wrong hole.

  21. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @Puck: Hey but at least he finished!

  22. jimv2000 says:

    Shouldn’t the distribution center be paying for any damages? I wonder if the gas stations are forwarding the bill for any money they spend compensating customers.

  23. semanticantics says:

    Pump n’ Munch in Minneapolis.

  24. DeleteThisAccount says:

    @semanticantics: Quick and Easy in Bloomington Illinois…

  25. freefallmotion says:

    Beaver Gas in Canada…

  26. TMMadman says:

    Man, that trucker really should have pulled out early.

  27. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @AngrySicilian:

    That has been my experience in Bloomington.

  28. We actually had this happen to a gas station here in Oregon as well. They were very responsible about owning up to the problem.

  29. intellivised says:

    We have a Kum N’ Go in Laramie and it is easily one of the friendliest stores I’ve been to since I’ve moved here. Marginally cheaper gass than other places locally, too.

    Kum N’ Go is so close to my house it’s practically an extension of my kitchen when I feel the need to snack and I’m on good terms with the whole staff – and I’ve heard all sorts of even bawdier repalcements for the unfortunately named gas station. The one I’ve heard the most is “Pump N’ Dump”.

    I recently went back to my hometown (near Detroit, MI) to play some shows with my old band and my Kum N’ Go trucker hat got quite a response – I had several offers from people wanting to buy it.

  30. randombob says:

    HaHa, Chevron in California….

    Wait, that’s not funny.

    Oops! :-)

  31. legwork says:

    Kum&go gear! Kum&go gear! Gitchyur kum&go gear raiiight here!

    [www.kumandgo.com]

    Holy noodling, Batman. What a name.

  32. Dervish says:

    @AngrySicilian: Mugs & Jugs in Cedar Rapids, IA.

  33. Jesse says:

    I used to work at a gas station and this happened once or twice. Our delivery company dropped the wrong grade of UNL gas every once in a while too.

    Another time at another location, the delivery guy didn’t lock down the cap going into the underground tank and a bunch rainwater got into the fuel, damaging a few cars. That made the 10:00 news.

    These truck drivers are human. They haul varying types of fuel to different locations, so it’s not impossible to get a compartment mixed up or confuse an underground tank.

    In this case, K&G will probably just pass the bill on to the distributor.

  34. pigbearpug says:

    @Puck: Nice!

  35. Carabell says:

    Kum & Go ?

  36. friendlynerd says:

    @campredeye:
    No, they have something called glow plugs which do something similar. And I’m pretty sure gasoline engines compress fuel and then explode it too.

  37. friendlynerd says:

    @Jesse:
    I’m surprised the diesel tanks and the gas tanks don’t have some sort of incompatible nozzle so you can’t mix them up. Seems like common sense.

  38. xwildebeestx says:

    Not too many can beat “Pump and Munch” in Phoenix.

  39. AmoritaKablamy says:

    From Smoohy in Sitka -

    At least James had his car repaired by KumN’ Go. This happened to me years ago to my taxi fleet – the cars ran like crap and the ones that got the highest concentration of contaminated fuel died of excess engine wear soon after. The station’s response? Sorry, not our problem. If this town had had more than one fuel supplier at the time….

  40. donkeyjote says:

    With a name like that, I’d hate to see what happens in the bathrooms….

  41. tande04 says:

    @intellivised: The problem I’ve always had with the one in Laramie as well as all of the K&G in WY is that they all used to be 7-11s (which we don’t have any of in the state anymore).

    I guess in terms of convience store heirarchy I’ve always put the 7-11 at the top so I hardly ever visit K&G after the switch. Dirty, poorly stocked, bad fast food choices, never been a big fan.

  42. MikeB says:

    @jimv2000: I would hazard a guess that Kum & Go will go after them. They are smart to do it this way, quickly respond to the problem then go after the pumping co if it is in fact their fault. It could be that the tanks were not labeled correctly or the lids got switched or new driver etc so the fault may be shared.

  43. kbarrett says:

    @friendlynerd: Glow plugs are only used to help start a cold diesel engine.

    Once the engine warms up, it’s strictly compression-ingition only.

  44. orielbean says:

    You can burn a little bit of diesel if it gets mixed w/ your gas. It is very polluting and horrible for the environment to do it this way. Diesel actually contains more energy in it than gas, so you will notice your gas mileage improve slightly. However, the engine does not like it, the air does not like it, and eventually your car will start to create bigger issues if you do it more than once by accident. It will definitely burn though.

  45. donkeyjote says:

    @friendlynerd: No, gasoline engines compress the gas/air mixture, then ignite it with a spark plug. Diesel engines simply use the compression to ignite the gas.

  46. Orv says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: If you end up with a mixture of diesel and gasoline in a gas car then you’ll get lots of blue smoke out the exhaust. If there’s too much diesel then it won’t run at all.

    @friendlynerd: As kbarrett pointed out, glow plugs are only used for starting. Also, the compression in diesel engines is much higher than in gasoline engines.

  47. Orv says:

    @orielbean: I would be surprised if a little diesel in the gas resulted in higher fuel economy. Diesel won’t burn completely in a gasoline engine so not much energy is released. It’s roughly the same effect as having a car that burns oil, and I have to say that the heavy oil burning tendencies of my Ford Crown Vic have not improved its mileage at all. ;)

  48. Froggmann says:

    How do you drive home without realizing there is a huge ammount of smoke billowing from your car?

  49. donkeyjote says:

    @Orv: So it releases the blue smoke? No wonder the car stops working ;P

  50. kbarrett says:

    @friendlynerd: A typical fuel trailer has 2 or more compartments … when fule is dispatched to a station, they generally need a lot of unleaded, and somewhat less premium and diesel.

    So the big compartment gets the unleaded, and the other ones are split by the dispatcher dependent on what the usual historic sales rates are for that station.

    The truck has one big filler hose, and maybe a pump to empty a ground tank ( rare ). It is up to the driver to connect the hose to the correct valve fitting … and which fitting that is will change as the dispatcher’s order changes.

    If a truck has, say a 1500 gallon compartment, a 2000 gallon compartment, and a 1000 gallon trailer … if a dispatcher sends 1000 gallons of diesel to one store on one load, and then sends 1500 gallons of diesel to a different store, that hose is going to get fitted to the trailer at station one, and a main tank compartment at station two.

    So … putting different ends on the hoses for each compartment won’t work, since there is no way to predict what product is carried in a given tank. They are all different sizes in order to give the dispatcher flexibility in customizing the load to a station.

  51. dweebster says:

    What an unfortunate name. “Blow and Go” would be better.

  52. I singlehandedly kept the Iowa City Kum and Go across from the UI library in business for two years on beer and beef sticks alone. Seriously, they have the best beef sticks ever.

  53. VicMatson says:

    How is this the gas stations fault, the poster said the wrong “gold” was pumped at the “distribution center” not the gas station?

    And since they were still pumping the bad stuff at 11:52, what does that make Kum ‘N Go…stop and go? I smell bad gas!

  54. quirkyrachel says:

    [still giggling about the name of the gas station...]

  55. nfs says:

    Kum & Go? Lol.

    How bout hump, I mean, pump and leave?

  56. dtmoore says:

    I used to work for a sister corporation of Kum and Go, the owner is a good guy, doesn’t surprise me to see it taken care of without any questions.

  57. brokebackwallet says:

    Ogod what a name. Giggling like a little girl after hearing a filthy joke here.

    Also the jokes holys… Got a good laugh and saved my day.

  58. failurate says:

    @Puck: The attendant must have been drunk or sleeping really deep. How else does that go un-noticed?

  59. InsaneFurry says:

    This chain needs to open stores in Nevada. They have the perfect name!

  60. ironchef says:

    Puts a whole new meaning to Kwik-E mart!

  61. Nytmare says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: If you put regular gasoline into a diesel car, it will billow smoke. Happened to my stepfather’s Volvo. (The gas station paid for repairs since it was a full service fill-up done by someone inexperienced.)

  62. Techguy1138 says:

    Does anyone know what to do if you realize that you have a partial load of diesel?

    What would the engine sound like? If caught early enough is it as simple as a fuel purge and injector cleaning?

  63. Jesse says:

    @friendlynerd:

    The hoses and other equipment to drop fuel into the tanks is fairly uniform. I guess you could have a seperate system for diesel, but these types of accidents are rare. Plus, it would just be plain inefficient from a logistical standpoint.

    If you had dedicated equipment for Diesel/Unleaded, then you couldn’t for instance ship as much unleaded if the trailer had a Diesel compartment or send the truck who just did a regular gas station to a trucking company.

    @failurate:

    It’s easier than you think. Most places have what’s called a Veeder Root system which tracks fuel & potential water levels.

    When I worked, most of the time we just threw the piece of paper the computer printed after each delivery into the paperwork bin and did not even scrutinize the actual delivery vs. which grade the bill of lading said we ordered.

    Plus, if it wasn’t a 24 hour location, the fuel could have been delivered at 3AM and you woldn’t notice the problem until it was too late and people started putting the mixed fuel in their cars.

  64. julieannie says:

    @PunditGuy: Also known as Squirt & Scram

  65. EyeHeartPie says:

    @kbarrett: @Jesse:

    I think friendlynerd meant have incompatible nozzles on the pump and the vehicle. So if I drive up to a diesel pump in my non-diesel car, the nozzle just wouldn’t fit into the gas receptacle in my car. Same for a regular gas pump and a diesel vehicle’s gas receptacle.

  66. WriterWriter says:

    Who names a business “Kum and Go?”

    Gross!

  67. ninabi says:

    At least they are paying mechanic bills. Jiffy Lube once did me the “service” off topping off all my car’s fluids. Oopsie! Oil in the radiator. Shhh….let’s hide it from that lady in the waiting room…

  68. mizmoose says:

    @AaronZ: Did you know that Sheetz (based around Altoona, PA, iirc) is actually a family name? I’ve met at least one of the Sheetz family at one point.

  69. Arthur says:

    If Kum & Go shot a load of diesel into your gas tank….

  70. admiral_stabbin says:

    I live in Iowa (where Kum & Go is headquartered) and I’ve always thought it to be an unfortunate name too. In their defense, they tend to be a lot cleaner than your average Citgo… ;-)

  71. RabbitDinner says:

    Where is this gas station based? Suffragette City?

    Wham bam, thank you ma’am :P

  72. thelushie says:

    @PunditGuy: If I still had my facebook page, that would soooo be going on it.

  73. thelushie says:

    @WriterWriter: Someone with internet access, tv, radio, magazines, etc., etc., etc. IN other words very naive.

    Do they have a branded credit card I can sign up for????

  74. Nick1693 says:

    @TMMadman: What, and spilled everything all over the place?

    /cheap double entendre

  75. HogwartsAlum says:

    Oh crap, which one is it? I’m in Springfield right now and I need gas today!!!

    Maybe I’ll go to Conoco instead. :P

  76. lodleader says:

    I live in the Springfield, MO area and had the about the same problem with Kum and Go in Strafford, MO.

    I filled up my tank with reg gas and by the time I got home, about 10 minutes, my car just died. Let it rest on the side of the road all night and it turned back on in the morning. Thankfully mine just had water in it and not anything else.

    And yes, I do call them Ejaculate and Evacuate. And have not been to another one since.

  77. Orv says:

    @EyeHeartPie: If I remember right, a diesel nozzle won’t fit in the filler neck of a car designed for unleaded gasoline. The restrictor plate meant to keep you from inserting a leaded gasoline nozzle also blocks a diesel nozzle. You can fit a gasoline nozzle into the filler neck of a diesel car, though. I don’t see how you could make them mutually incompatible unless you abandoned round nozzles.

  78. timmus says:

    Regarding the Pump-N-Munch, Sheetz, etc, we filled up in Breckenridge, Colorado several years ago. Where? At a place called U-GAS-M. Kind of makes you want to go in and buy a Playboy.

  79. timmus says:

    (oh, and let’s not forget the gas stations with creative uses of “Sac” in their name)

  80. donkeyjote says:

    @timmus: And go to temple right afterwards, oh vey..

  81. MrEvil says:

    Diesel in a gasoline engine isn’t as bad as Gasoline in a Diesel engine. Gassers might require a bit of labor flushing the lines and fuel rails, otherwise the Diesel won’t do much harm past the fuel filter, FPR, and possibly the pump. Spark Plugs might get pretty fouled too, but those parts aren’t too expensive other than the fuel pump. Just labor intensive.

    Now on a Diesel engine you run into either the Injector pump gaulding a piston or fouling up a unit injector (depending on what type of Diesel vehicle you have.) Unit Injectors on my Powerstroke are $250/ea remanufactured. That’s $2000 + Labor + whatever other parts the gasoline ruined.

  82. @friendlynerd: At the consumer pump, Diesel and gas are hard to mix up (unless you accidentally put gas into a Diesel); a Diesel nozzle will not fit into a gasoline filler. Unfortunately, the truck-to-tank fillers are all the same size.

  83. Rachacha says:

    You never want to snuggle {POUT}

  84. Dansc29625 says:

    I have actually heard about people with Diesel trucks filling up at BP stations and just paying attention to the green pumps and put gas in their tanks. Gota suck.

  85. FrankReality says:

    Dr. Evil, I suppose burning a mix of diesel/gas in a gas-engined car doesn’t do much good for the catalytic converter.

    And you’re right about the gas in a diesel – that’s bad, very bad.

  86. intellivised says:

    @tande04: I’m fairly new to WY, so I can’t make a really educated response besides this: As far as selection and cleanliness goes the Loaf N’ Jugs (what is with all these stupid names?) have K&G beat hands down. That being said! K&G here is almost in my front yard and as far as c-stores go it’s on the dumpy side but it’s not horrible. The one thing they have going for it is that actually sell food from the local Mexican restaurant which is extremely good when I’m in a hurry or shouldn’t be operating machinery or kitchen equipment.

  87. Sighlas says:

    As reported in the main article, this fuel mix-up was due to an error at the fueling terminal (the location trucks go to pickup diesel and gasoline to deliver to convenience stores, among other places). The fuel terminal in question (not owned nor operated by Kum&Go) has in fact admitted fault in this accident and will be compensating KG for repairs paid out to customers. Company drivers for Kum&Go have no way of identifying gasoline that’s been contaminated with diesel products.

  88. Ysa says:

    This happened in Springfield, Oregon a week or two ago. A Jackson Oil driver spaced out and put the diesel in the gas tank and the gas in the diesel tank. Within a couple days their insurance company approved a specific dealership (pretty much across the street from the gas station) to directly bill the insurance for repairs. I think around 10-15 cars were affected.

  89. moore850 says:

    Dang! That’s the same name I was going to use for a chain of drive-thru brothels.

  90. BaronVonHawkeye says:

    Sioux City, IA has a combination gas station and tobacco store: Pump & Pack.