Florida officials warn drivers of potential fuel contamination ahead of Hurricane Idalia

August 29, 2023
gas pump

If (consumers) filled up at any one of these stations, they probably don’t want to drive their car — because you’re going to have people potentially just stuck on the side of the road.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) at a news conference on Sunday, warning drivers of potential fuel contamination caused by “human error.” The warning comes as some areas have been ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Idalia.

Why It Matters: About 30 gas stations in cities such as Tampa, Fort Myers, and Sarasota sold potentially contaminated fuel over the weekend. The error, caused by Houston-based fuel company Citgo, occurred as "They put diesel in tanks that were supposed to be regular gas," according to Gov. DeSantis. State officials said the contaminated fuel can damage car engines or cause malfunctions. The Associated Press explains that the announcement "is an even greater concern with so many residents potentially evacuating as [Hurricane] Idalia approaches."

If consumers purchased gasoline at one of the stations that sold potentially contaminated fuel, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says to contact the department and file a complaint. Consumers may also file a complaint through the CITGO Good Gas Guarantee program.

Hurricane Idalia: What was first considered a tropical storm developed into a hurricane early on Tuesday morning. Idalia continues to grow stronger, with the National Hurricane Center predicting it will become a major Category 3 hurricane before making landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday. The Orlando Sentinel reports, "forecasters predict it will reach peak sustained winds of 125 mph with gusts up to 155 mph and storm surge that could top 15 feet by mid-morning Wednesday."

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by Jenna Lee,