N.J. AG sues gas stations that allegedly sold aviation fuel

By Bryan Cohen | May 29, 2013

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced a lawsuit Tuesday against six gas stations, their parent company and two fuel distribution firms for allegedly selling leaded aviation fuel to unknowing motorists.

The lawsuit named Pasmel Property Inc., the parent company of the stations, Zephyr Oil, a fuel distributor, Lee Transport, a fuel transporter, and the six Pasmel-owned gas stations as defendants. The stations include the North Plainfield-based Daninka, the Trenton-based Express Fuel, the Lawrenceville-based Lukoil, the Scotch Plains-based Lukoil, the Manasquan-based Lukoil and the Keyport-based Delta.

Between Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, the defendants allegedly received approximately 65,000 gallons of aviation gasoline and advertised and sold the fuel as unleaded regular, plus or premium motor fuel.

Aviation gas, also known as avgas, contains tetraethyl lead, a toxic substance that can damage the oxygen sensors and catalytic converters of cars. The state alleges that Zephyr, Lee Transport and Pasmel all knew or should have known that the fuel being delivered was aviation fuel.

"We allege that these gas stations clearly knew, or should have known, they were selling aviation fuel that contains toxic lead, while advertising it as unleaded gasoline for motorists," Chiesa said. "We will pursue restitution for any consumer, if it is demonstrated that this aviation fuel damaged their vehicles. Just as importantly, we are holding these gas stations and the distributors responsible for their alleged, unlawful deception and potential harm to the public."

The lawsuit alleges multiple violations of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, Advertising Regulations, Motor Fuels Regulations, Weights and Measures Act and Motor Fuels Act, in addition to the Federal Clean Air Act.

Consumer Fraud Act violations can result in civil penalties of up to $10,000 for a first violation and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations. Motor Fuels Act violations can lead to civil penalties of up to $1,500 for a first violation and up to $3,000 for subsequent violations, in addition to a suspension or revocation of the retail dealer's license to sell motor fuels. Weights and Measures Act violations can result in civil penalties of up to $1,000 for the first violation and up to $5,000 for subsequent violations.

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