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Hotline set up for cars that got contaminated gasoline

awestALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Giant gas station chain has set up a new claims hotline to help customers experiencing car trouble after buying bad fuel at two Albuquerque-area stations.

The Giant stores at 6570 Paradise NW and 1050 N.M. 528 in Rio Rancho each sold contaminated gas Tuesday, according to company spokesman Gary Hanson.

Drivers who bought it may notice a rough idle or have difficulty accelerating, Hanson said. The company plans to reimburse drivers for the repairs associated with the bad gas.

The claims number to call is 877-511-1012. Hanson said Thursday it already had fielded more than 100 calls.

“We know we’ve inconvenienced our customers, and we want to minimize that as much as we can,” Hanson said.

The fuel came from a Western Refining refinery in Gallup. El Paso-based Western Refining owns the Giant chain, which has more than 30 locations in the Albuquerque area.

Hanson said only two locations were impacted, and sales were halted at each when the problem was identified. Additional deliveries of the problem product also were called off.

The Paradise location already was operating again Thursday, after having its storage tanks drained and refilled with new gas.

State regulators will have to give the go-ahead before the Rio Rancho location resumes sales.

A citizen complaint prompted an inspector from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to visit the site Wednesday.

The inspection revealed a problem, and the state issued a “stop sale” order, although Agriculture Department spokeswoman Katie Goetz said the station already had closed its pumps by then.

Hanson said officials believe a water leak into one of the Gallup refinery’s storage tanks is to blame, but the company is still investigating.

 

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