ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Contaminated gasoline in San Jose blamed for stalling engines

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- 7 On Your Side has learned an investigation is underway into how contaminated fuel got into a fuel dispenser at a gas station in San Jose.

Mechanics tell us the contaminated gasoline left some cars inoperable.

The good news is that the fuel company involved, Propel Fuels, has acknowledged the contamination and says it will make things right for motorists affected by this incident.

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A service manager says this is one of four vehicles towed into Normandin Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat within hours of each other Saturday with a stalled engine.

The cars were brought in shortly after the San Jose dealership said it was alerted by Propel Fuels of a potential problem.

The alternative clean fuel company leases space from this Chevron gas station to sell its gas.

Propel said it shut down this pump within hours of learning about the contamination.

Desiree Salazar says she filled up at this Propel Fuels pump on West Capitol Expressway in San Jose on Saturday and that the needle on her fuel gauge began jumping back and forth and her engine warning light turned on hours later.

"By the end of the day, my car was shaking and we were driving later on in the day. We were driving in Milpitas and my car gave out in the middle of the street, " said Desiree.

A fifth car with the same symptoms arrived at Normandin Chrysler Tuesday.

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Mechanics found blue-colored gasoline in all the vehicles. Gasoline is normally clear.

"These are samples of the cars we have in here. Fuel doesn't look this way," he said while holding up a jar of suspected contaminated fuel.

Crews were at Propel Fuels on Capitol Expressway to clean up the affected tank.

Rob Elam is the company's CEO.

"Unfortunately, this type of thing happens in the fuel business despite all the technology and you just pray it doesn't happen to your customers," he said. "When it does, the best thing to do is to make sure anyone affected is supported individually, fixed up and back on the road as soon as possible. That's what we're trying to do."

He says the company does not know the source of the contamination and has not ruled out sabotage.

Right now, the priority is repairing the impacted vehicles.

"What happens when the car, once they drive away from the gas station, the car runs just a little while and then they'll stop running. So the cars typically towed into the dealership," he said

He says Propel has approved repairs on all the cars brought in with this problem so far.

"I'm thankful. From what I'm hearing it's going to be costly. They are draining my fuel. They're replacing fuel injectors," said Desiree.

Propel says anyone confirmed to have put the contaminated fuel into their tank will be taken care of. The Chevron station which leases space to Propel is not involved with this incident.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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