17 Stations involved in Bad Gas?

December 30th, 2015

The Government of Jamaica has declined to name the 17 stations apparently involved in selling bad or contaminated gas. Instead the Jamaican Government has order the stations to shut down by midnight December 29, 2015 while the investigations continue. The stations are distributed in the following parishes of Jamaica, as indicated below.

  • Kingston and St Andrew - 7
  • Clarendon - 3
  • St. James - 3
  • Manchester - 2
  • St. Catherine - 1
  • St. Thomas - 1

In time it will become obvious which stations are involved.

The decision not to name the stations at this time is reasonable in our opinion. The government is refusing to blame the gas station operators for the bad gas until investigation conclusively point to either one of or a combination of the following:

  • Rogue services station
  • Poorly maintained tanks/delivery systems
  • Rogue Truckers
  • Rogue Contractor
  • Contaminated Imported Gas

Instead of the big stick, the government has effectively gone for “voluntary” shutdown. The problem is the source of the contamination has not been pinned down. Once the stations remove the bad stock, and ensure the tanks are okay, look for the service stations to resume normal operations.

What this latest issue has raised is that there clearly a lack of monitoring of quality of gas being sold to consumers. It is clear that no systemic random testing for quality assurance was being done.

Bad Gas in Jamaica

December 29th, 2015

A week ago news broke in Jamaica about bad gas  affecting motor vehicles. I first heard of the issue while when I went to have my motor vehicle repaired at a dealer. There I overhead a conversation about cars in western Jamaica being affected by what by sound of things pointed to bad gas. Turns out it seems that the parish of St. Thomas has been worst hit with one garage operator claiming he has seen over 50 vehicles affected.

Long time issue?

The quality of gas has long been a concern at service stations. Al Edwards in an Observer article tackled the issue of fuel quality back then.  Neville Graham’s article in the Sunday Gleaner of December 27, 2015 carries the title there is “Big Business in Bad Gas“. The questions what has the government of Jamaica done to prevent this. In response the Governement launched a probe and today we begin to see hints of the findings.

How it damages

Fuel filters are found in the fuel lines of gas tanks and screen out dirt and rust particles from fuel.

“In these cars nowadays, the filter is really designed to last forever. It’s in the fuel tank, and it’s not something that’s supposed to be changed. They are very expensive because it is not something that happens every day (filter issues), and it’s all the newer cars that are affected,” Hudson said.

Yet at the end of the day motorists are left none the wiser as to which stations are affected. It is a tricky call to “name and shame” the gas stations as some have suggested. The problem is the gas stations might not be at fault as it might be the trucker/truckers that are responsible. Then again it might not be the truckers but it might be the source. Petrojam has said they are not at fault but gas is also imported by marketing companies. Until all the details are available it would be irresponsible to start blaming anyone.

The Gleaner however indicates from a copy of part of the report of bad gas that there are rogue gas stations are located in St Thomas, Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon and St Ann.

Interesting RJR reports that  a service station in Morant Bay has refunded some of its customers affected by bad/contaminated gas. In another report a service station outside of Spanish Town is reported to have suffered over $800,000 losses when the gas it received caused the pumps to stop working. In that case it appears no gas was pumped into in motor vehicle.

My Advice would be

- Buy from a known marketing companies, Total, Rubis,Texaco, Epping,Petcom,Unipet

- Do not buy gas from any “Back door” service stations

- Do not but gas from anyone selling out of a drum…

Timeline

December 19, 2015 - News breaks in Media about Bad Gas

December 22,  2015 -  Probe ordered by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining

December 28, 2015 -  Report to be released tomorrow

Leaning traffic signal pole

November 24th, 2015

As you drive around Kingston, Jamaica,  motorists will face many dangers. There are undisciplined motorists, potholes and craters.

However, recently I noticed this leaning traffic signal pole at the intersection of Waterloo Road and South Avenue.  There is also a wire under the arm near the traffic signals, either being stretched or in support of the leaning pole. The wire itself poses a danger should it break and hit some unsuspecting motorist or pedestrian. I understand that this stoplight has been leaning this way every since an accident in September 2015. When will the authorities fix this issue?

East Street/North Street accident caught on tape

April 13th, 2015

The Jamaica Gleaner captured an accident on night of April 10, 2015 at the intersection of North Street and East Street in Kingston Jamaica.  I hope the persons who were involved did not die and are recovering.

The captured video highlights the beauty of technology but we need to be careful we spend too much time be awe and forget that persons were injured.

That said, the video clearly shows a few things that we should note.

  1. Stop at the red light
  2. Only proceed on green when it is clear
  3. Do not attempt to speed up on the yellow light to beat it (note to self)
  4. Even when you have the green you still have to be careful
The video can be seem below

Kingston crash caught on camera

The timeline
  • at 6 secs - both vehicles are not in the frame
  • at 7 secs - The darker vehicle appears
  • at 8 secs - The darker coloured vehicle heading down East Street clearly fails to stop on the red light
  • at 9 secs - Having broken the light the vehicle is now collides with the white vehicle on North Street by all indications attempting to beat the red
The demonstrates the challenge to eye-witnesses have. In less than a second the light has changed from red to green. At the moment of impact the light going down East Street is red but the driver of the darker vehicle is still wrong have broken the red light of milliseconds before.
However, while in the driver of the white vehicle could claim the right it could be argued that he/she was careless and reckless with an apparent attempt to break the red, i.e.  he/she did slow down on the yellow/amber.
The other thing we do not know is if there was a timing issue with like light. Was the light on North Street still showing green when the light on East Street had the green?

Jamaica’s Toll Roads usage below expectation

September 28th, 2014

For many Jamaican consumers, the increase in prices in the services and products has hit hard.  Onee news story that escaped public attention in the midst of the Chikungunya outbreak was the lower than expected number of motorists using the nation toll roads. According to a report carried on RJR News Online, the projected usage at the four toll plazas, Portmore, Vineyards, Spanish Town and May Pen, for the period January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014 was 53,200 but the number was slightly lower at 52,400. Note this was before the increase in July.

What I have noticed is the apparent increased number of advertisements, attempting to promote the use east west toll network.

Going back to the numbers, the Portmore toll plaza was down only 0.3% pretty much reflecting the lack of choice to the motorists in that community. The Spanish town leg which can be easily avoided suffered the largest decrease of 4.5%. The numbers not provided were what percentage of users cross the respective four toll plaza although we suspect the Portmore toll plaza to be the largest.

What would be interested is what the numbers will be at the end of 2014, given the steep increases.