Ripped off at the E85 pump
February 27, 2007 12:02 PM Subscribe
"My first experience purchasing an alternative fuel (E85)", or "How can I get my $20ish back?" or, "why is this such a pain in the ass?"
posted by bradn to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So Saturday I bought a flex fuel vehicle, a 07 Impala. I feel good about running E85, it's cheaper than gas right now, and there are a few stations in the area, it seems like a good idea that i can feel good about.
Today I go to one of the few E85-carrying stations in Milwaukee, near my job, at 425 E Capitol. They have 2 E85 pumps, one is out of order. I quickly find that the credit card reader on the "good" pump is also out of order. No problem, I'll pay inside. I begin pumping. When the gallons meter hits 25, I say to myself, "there's no way this tank is that big". So I stop the pump, and take the nozzle out, at which point the overflowing e85 spills down the side of my car into a puddle on the ground which appeared to be water. Apparently the auto stop on the pump is not working. I go inside to get a towel (because this is the kind of station that never refills towels or window washer), and the clerk asks for me to pay, at which point I do, like a complete moron with my mind more concerned with what the ethanol is doing to my new car's paint. I walk out with the towels and wipe off the car, then look at the owner's manual to see that the tank has a capacity of 17 gallons. I never saw fuel spilling out, but it had to go somewhere. I just paid $56.35 for 25.626 gallons. After arguing with the clerk, who i could barely understand and could barely understand me, showing him the capacity in my owner's manual, calling the citgo distributor as he told me to (who said to call the station owner), I gave up. Back at work I tried Citgo's website (all stations independantly owned and operated) and called the station again, got the name of the owner (Multani Petroleum), called them only to hear that they no longer own that station. I once again gave up.
As I was leaving the station, the clerk put an "out of order" plastic bag over the nozzle, and I assume it will sit there for weeks if not months. The small E85 sign in front sits behind a snow bank, and has no price numbers on it.
It's difficult enough to get regular unleaded in a city full of gas stations that are improperly maintained, dirty, overpriced, and not customer friendly, how is one supposed to take advantage of this new fuel, and aid in helping set up an infrastucture that could help us consume less oil?
Also, any ideas how I can get my money back?