Skip to main content

Gas mixed with windshield washer fluid causes vehicles to break down: fuel analysis company


A fuel analysis company says it now knows the contaminant that was mixed with gas at a Guelph, Ont., gas station, causing dozens of vehicles to break down.

Last month, CTV News reported the story about drivers who said they filled up their tanks at a Mobil Gas Station on Woolwich Street, only to be faced with hefty repair bills for their vehicles due to tainted gas.

A new lab study submitted by one of the victims determined the contaminant mixed with the gas was a highly concentrated windshield washer fluid.

Gas from a stalled vehicle on the left, clean fuel from a pump on the right.

“Which was not expected that was very unusual,” said Bill Quesnel, the president of Wearcheck Canada, the fuel analysis company who did the study on the gas.

Quesnel said it is possible for ground water to leak into a fuel supply from time to time but finding washer fluid is not common. He said the mix-up could have happened during transport.

“Likely that the delivery vehicle, which would deliver fuel as well as other fuel products, possibly would not have been flushed properly. So there was a portion of washer fluid,” he said.

Less than a month since the incident, the gas station is closed for good.

Apex Property Management, the company that handles the property, said the gas station operator was evicted by their mortgagee due to poor operating practices.

The drivers involved said they still want their money back.

“It’s been a frustrating experience. You go to get gas and you don’t think this is going to happen,” said Ella Van Oene.

Van Oene stopped at the Mobil station to put $20 worth of gas in her vehicle. After her car broke down, she paid around $1000 to get it fixed.

“I just wanted there to be some accountability. I wish that the actual owner of the gas station reached out,” she said.

Van Oene says least 40 other drivers have been contacted by Travelers Canada, the insurance group representing the gas station. Victims have been told they’ll be reimbursed for all expenses but haven’t been given a timeline for when they’ll get it.

CTV reached out to Travelers Canada for comment but did not hear back.

'Out of stock' sign on a fuel pump in Guelph, Ont. (Tyler Kelaher/CTV Kitchener)

How do I feel? Cautiously optimistic or optimistically cautious – something along that line. I don’t know where this is going to go. I haven’t heard anything in the last five or six days,” said another victim, Brian Holstein.

The drivers impacted say they’re willing to wait up to a month to be reimbursed before taking further action.

“It’s just honestly skepticism surrounding all gas stations, this could have happened to any gas station,” said Van Oene. Top Stories

Stay Connected