STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- George Zaloom, owner of Zaloom's Auto Repair, in Westerleigh, has had to repair five cars in the last year (four of those just in the last six weeks) after the driver accidentally put diesel fuel in the vehicle instead of regular gasoline.
Some gas stations that have single-pump units don't separate the diesel pumps from the regular pumps, which can lead to customers accidentally picking up the green pump nozzle — which is diesel gas — instead of the black nozzle used for regular gas.
"People need to pay closer attention," said Claudette Duff, of Graniteville, who accidentally pumped diesel fuel into her 2015 Subaru Forrester at a Tompkinsville station.
Dee Dushmantha, manager of the Tompkinsville Mobile station, said that, while the mistake doesn't happen often, it does happen.
"If you need help, please come in and get us," Dushmantha said, "We will come out and show you the correct nozzle to use." He added that for most cars that use regular gas, the diesel nozzle should be too large to fit in the tank.
However, Bill Brown, a mechanic at Zaloom's Auto Repair, said he recently tried to put a diesel nozzle into his 2006 GMC Envoy, and it fit without a problem.
Zaloom said that when a driver puts diesel fuel into car that runs on regular gas, it can be an expensive mistake, made worse if the car is driven with the diesel fuel in it. His advice to drivers: "Just don't do it!" and if it happens, "don't start the car -- get it towed!"
George Zaloom from Zaloom's Auto Repair has had to repair five cars in the last year, four just in the last month who accidentally put diesel gas in their vehicle instead of regular. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)