Reports of bad gas at the pumps is pretty rare, according to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. But they aren't unheard of.

The state says it gets about 200 complaints ever year and a fraction of those actually turn out to be faulty gas.

Marcus Helfrich, the state's Motor Fuels Inspection Manager, says they'll send an inspector out to the gas station if anyone calls them to file a report.

That's what happened to a gas station in Gibsonville this week, after a driver filed a report.

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Problems could include water in the gas, sediments in the gas, or gas in diesel fuel. All can cause some pretty bad damage to your vehicle. Helfrich says damage could cost more $1,000 depending on the vehicle.

If you pump bad gas into your car, you'll probably notice pretty quickly. Shortly after leaving the pump your car could stall, jerk or break down. If your vehicle takes diesel, you could hear explosion sounds coming from the engine and see black smoke coming from the vehicle.

The first thing you should do is call the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Their number is 919-733-3246. The sooner you call, the quicker they can send an inspector out to order any necessary action the station owner might need to take. You can also email the department through their website. Just click the "Contact" tab.

Helfrich also recommends saving all your gas receipts for proof of purchase He also encourages people to document any proof of damage either on their own car or at the station or pumps. Take pictures of broken down cars, smoke, bags over pumps, etc. You should also save all bills from services repairing damage to your car related to the bad gas.

When it comes to reimbursement, you'll have to deal with the gas station directly. Typically gas stations will have insurance and owners can act as a liaison between you and the company to see what's possible when it comes to paying for damage. That's where all your receipts, bills and pictures can help your case.

The state regularly inspects gas pumps and will order pumps be shut down if there is a problem. Inspectors will work with gas station owners to try and figure out where bad gas came from and how the problem can be fixed.

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