The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs cited 22 gas stations, including two in Paterson, for various violations in its two-week long enforcement operation dubbed “Operation Summer Octane” ahead of the busy Fourth of July travel week.
State inspectors from the Office of Weights and Measures led the unannounced fuel quality tests at 371 or about 10-percent of the state’s 3,000 licensed gas stations from June 11 through 27 in all 21 counties.
Only two gas stations, Runway Gas on Greenwood Avenue in Trenton and USA Gas on Landis Avenue in Vineland, were found allegedly selling gas that failed to deliver the advertised octane levels.
“With the busiest travel holiday of the summer upon us, we want motorists to have confidence that when they purchase gasoline at New Jersey stations, they’re going to get their money’s worth,” Paul R. Rodríguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “Operation Summer Octane was a proactive sweep to let stations know we’re watching to make sure they’re not charging consumers premium prices for low-grade gasoline.”
The two Paterson gas stations cited in the sweep were Rose Fuel at 308 Union Avenue and Delta at 216 Redwood Avenue. Rose Fuel was cited for failure to display mid-grade pricing atop fuel dispenser and Delta was cited for failure to display credit card pricing atop fuel dispenser, according to the state.
Rose Fuel was issued six violations and Delta four.
Gas prices this Independence Day are the highest seen in four years, according to Automobile Club of America (AAA). Consumers are paying on average $2.88 per gallon for regular and $3.35 for premium, a 47-cent price gap.
“When stations are charging nearly 50 cents a gallon more for premium gasoline the potential for illegal profit can be a temptation for unscrupulous station owners,” Rodríguez said “The good news is, our unannounced inspections found that 99 percent of the stations were pumping the proper grade of fuel. The small minority that weren’t will be held accountable.”
Fuel samples that appeared to show a violation, showed unclear results, or could not be tested on site were sent to labs for comprehensive testing. Seven samples were sent to labs.
Gas stations cited face penalties from $100 to $1,500 per violations.
Other stations cited were:
- Exxon/Warren Food Inc., 171 Mt Bethel Rd, Warren –Failure to have inspection certificate available. (1 count)
- Shell/Ellahi Fuel, 411 W Main St., Boonton – Faulty 5-gallon test measure
- Mobile/Creative Management, 102 N Delsea Dr., Glassboro – Water in storage drop around fuel storage tank. (3 counts)
- Citgo/Clayton Food and Gas, 435 S Delsea Dr., Clayton – Water in storage drop around fuel storage tank. (1count)
- Riggins/Hammonton Fuel Stop, 12th & Chew Rd, Hammonton – Water in storage drop around fuel storage tank. (1 count)
- Quick Check #90 1999, Routes 1 & 9, Rahway – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (10 counts)
- Delta/Sadana Fuel, LLC 104 Westfield Ave., Clark – Pump meter continuing to run after dispensing stops. (3 counts)
- Valero/Khalsa Fuel, LLC, 105 Chestnut St., Roselle, NJ – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on marquee. (1 count)
- Delta/A-1 Union Gas, 35 North Ave., Crandford – Unregistered weighing and measuring devices. (18 counts)
- Conoco/Jersey Mart Inc., 419-431 Routes 1 & 9, Elizabeth – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (3 counts)
- Sunoco #7013, Thomas Edison Service Area, NJTP, Woodbridge – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (4 counts)
- Fuel 4/NCK Fuel, 1126 McCarter Hwy., Newark – Failure to display security seal on fuel dispenser meter. (4 counts) Failure to have 5-gallon test measure on premises. (1 count)
- Speedway, #3485, 895 Springfield Ave., Irvington – No Price Per Gallon signage atop fuel dispenser. (3 counts)
- Delta/G & R Fuel Corporation, 822-828 Clinton Ave., Newark – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (9 counts)
- JPG Enterprises, 754 Lyons Rd., Irvington – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (2 counts)
- 07205 Management, 242 Elizabeth Ave., Newark – Failure to have 5-gallon test measure on premises. (1 count)
- Saveway LLC, 221 Central Ave., East Orange – No security seal on fuel dispenser meter. (13 counts) Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (4 counts) Failure to have 5-gallon test measure on premises. (1 count)
- Mobile/1139-1153 Broad St Petroleum, 1139-1153 Broad St., Newark – Improper numeral size on Price Per Gallon signage atop fuel dispenser. (13 counts).
The state formed a “Octane Task Force,” made up of inspectors from 17 state, county, and municipal weights and measures offices.
Inspectors used portable octane testers to conduct their tests of unleaded gasoline rated 87, 89, 91, 92, and 93 octanes at each of the stations.
When octane levels are too low, gasoline can self-ignite during compression causing higher pressures than the engine components can handle. It leads to persistent knocking sound in the engine. In some cases, it can lead to broken connecting rods, melted pistons, and other damaged parts. Engine damage risk is higher for high-performance vehicles.