Clipped From Courier-Post
Weather? Gripers 'All Wet' On Watered Gas? By WILLIAM G. HOPKINS Courier-Post Stajf Camden County Consumer Affairs Director Mrs. Barbara Berman says she doesn't think any gas stations in the county are deliberately selling adulterated fuel. However, she does think some watered gasoline is being pumped in this area. Her office, she says, has received about a half dozen complaints about watered gasoline during the last few weeks. And it's her opinion that the complaints stem from gas pumped out of freshly-filled, underground tanks. The gasoline sloshes up water condensation at the bottom of the underground tanks, she says, and some of the water gets mixed with the gasoline that's pumped into the cars. August Francesconl, county superintendent of weights and Berman's explanation. He advises moralists: Forecasts Atlantic City and Vicinity Partly cloudy tonight, low in the low to mid 20s. Cloudy with snow likely tomorrow, high in the upper 20s. Precipitation probability 20 per cent tonight and 70 per cent tomorrow. Wind northeast tonight at 10 to 20 miles an hour. Ocean water temperature is in the upper 30s. Manasquan to Cape May Partly cloudy tonight and cloudy tomorrow with snow likely. Visibility better than five miles tonight, lowering to one or less in snow tomorrow. Wind northeasterly 10 to 20 knots tonight and tomorrow. "Never get gas immediately after the station's tanks have been filled." He recommends a wait of 15 minutes to a half hour, after which any water should have settled to the bottom of the tank. But Jerry Ferrara, president of the N.J. Gasoline Retailers Association, reports that gas station operators routinely check the tanks for condensation. "If there's any water in the tanks, it's immediately pumped out," he says. However, he acknowledges that if the tanks aren't checked some of the water could wind up in an automobile tank. Mrs. Berman said the possibility of condensation has increased now that gas stations are emptying and refilling their tanks more frequently during the fuel shortage. State Consumer Affairs Director Millicent II. Fenwick yesterday said she's received "hundreds and hundreds of" similiar complaints statewide. "But the interesting thing is," she said, "very rarely do we find watered gasoline. I'm mystified." Mrs. Berman and Frances-coni, whose weights and measures unit checks out the gasoline complaints, report they have yet to find water in gasoline. "The intake pipes of the underground tanks go down to four inches above the bottom of the tank," Mrs. Fenwick says, "so if you pour in a big delivery it may stir that (any water below the four-inch level) up . . . that's the only explanation we can find." Yesterday spokesman for Exxon, Sunoco, and Arco said that when deliveries are made to to the stations the dealers check the tanks. But on a day-to-day basis, the spokesman for the gasoline companies said, it's up to the gas station operators to check the tanks.