Gas Stations Sued By State For Selling 100LL
New Jersey's Attorney General (AG) and Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) have filed a lawsuit regarding the distribution and sale of 100LL at six gas stations in the state, last December. The suit charges that the avgas was advertised as unleaded auto fuel and sold to customers between Dec. 6 and 8, 2012. According to the state AG, the gas stations "clearly knew, or should have known" that they were selling leaded avgas to motorists. A distributor and transporter were also named in the suit. Zephyr Oil is accused of purchasing more than 70,000 gallons of avgas on Dec. 4, 2012, from a California-based company (not named by the suit) and selling it at a deep-discount price to Pamsel Property Inc., which owned all six affected stations. For pilots, the lawsuit may pose more questions than it seeks to resolve.
Motivation for the discounted sale to Pamsel is not yet clear and whether Pamsel could have profited from selling the discounted avgas at auto-fuel prices (which it did) is not detailed by the suit. The lawsuit itself focuses on alleged unlawful deception of motorists and potential harm done through damage to auto components and lead exposure. According to the suit, all the entities involved should have known that they were dealing in avgas because bills associated with the product were labeled "AVGAS -- Aviation." An attorney for Pamsel said the company was not aware that the fuel being delivered was aviation fuel; Pamsel shut down the gas stations as soon as it became aware of the switch; and Pamsel paid to clean all associated systems. "Pamsel lost an awful lot of money," their attorney told Manasquan.patch.com. Pamsel has filed suit against Zyphyr (the company from which it acquired the fuel). Zephyr has responded, saying that Pamsel knew what it was getting. The state AG and DCA may seek civil penalties of up to $10,000 for a first violation, and a ruling against Pamsel could also result in a 30-day suspension of Pamsel's dealer license.