People who frequent gas stations have noticed something at the pump other than high prices. Those who get a peculiar sense of satisfaction smelling gas have noticed that they can't smell the gas anymore. To some, if you can't smell gas, you may just have COVID-19, but some believe they can't smell gas for another reason. Is gas being diluted?
It isn't uncommon for conspiracy theories to fly at times like these. Sometimes the theories are right. What started as a viral TikTok of a young lady at a gas station has people wondering if gas is being watered down. Along with the lack of smell, people also notice their gas burns out quicker. Both of these complaints point back to the possibility that gas might be diluted.
People notice they can't smell gas and a full tank isn't lasting as long
People haven't hesitated to air their grievances about the financial pains of inflation. But no inflation topic brews conversation like the price of gas. One individual tweeted, "I know for a fact this new price gouged gas is diluted because I used to get 315–330 miles on a full tank and now I get like 250–275." People took to the comments to share they have noticed the same thing. Even people who don't drive as much are noticing a difference.
A video went Viral on TikTok of a woman pumping gas. As she was pumping her gas she was moving her head around and sniffed the air. She (comically) realized people's suspicions were right. It doesn't help the case, however, when the most recognizable symptoms of COVID-19 were loss of taste and smell. Either way, people are convinced there's something fishy (or in this case, watery) going on.
Conspiracy theories aren't usually given merit because some believe they're only in paranoid minds. However, what can be said of conspiracy theories is the more people begin to notice or discuss them, the more attention they're given such as the string of food processing plants that burned down. The conspiracy behind that phenomenon was that the fires were meant to make the food shortage worse.
Is gas being watered down?
In March of this year, several people at a Shell gas station in Davenport, Iowa noticed that once they filled their cars up with gas, their cars started behaving funny. Brittany Stevenson told KWQC, "I got $50.10 worth of gas and I started driving back over the bridge and my car was kinda thumping around."
Rickie Schloemer had the same issue at the same Shell gas station too. "My car was fine. No lights on the dash and now it's acting like it's out of gas and I just put gas in it and it shows me I have gas in it." Eventually, a Shell spokesperson stated that while the company takes quality seriously, it was revealed that the gas at that particular location, "may have been contaminated."
Pipeco reportedly stated that what may have happened was phase separation, a situation where large amounts of water are in the fuel tank, which makes the ethanol sink to the bottom. In 2017, a report by CheapCarInsurance revealed that a year prior, an overwhelming amount of gas stations weren't passing inspections. States such as Georgia and Florida failed inspections due to water leaking into the gas.
At Cowboy's gas station in Birmingham, Ala., customers noticed immediate car troubles after filling up their tanks. The owner of the gas station claimed that one of the caps was left off a fuel tank accidentally, which caused several gallons of water to get into the gas. Since water causes instant damage, many people were able to spot that the issue was water.
Gas may not be intentionally diluted, but here are the signs of water in your gas tank.
While the previous examples appear to be isolated events, it hasn't stopped people from holding on to their initial belief that gas is intentionally being watered down. If you do fill up your car, watch for signs of possible contamination including rust in the gas tank, rough idles, the engine doesn't start or surges, or the acceleration is rough. So far, there hasn't been a statement from President Biden or major gas companies in regards to the theory that gas is being diluted on purpose.