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Gas stations unhappy about Calif. ruling

Oct. 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- About 3,000 California gasoline stations must remove potentially dangerous nozzle clips that allow for hands-free fueling, a judge ruled.

About one-third of California's fuel stops are affected by the ruling by Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg in San Jose, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The state fire marshal ordered stations using Vapor Systems Technology-labeled nozzles to remove the hands-free clip in August after at least 13 nozzles failed, spewing gasoline on the ground or on customers.

Station owners unsuccessfully pleaded with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to block the order before asking a court in Santa Clara County to delay it for 90 days, the newspaper said.

"There is a temporary inconvenience to the consumer, but it is outweighed by the fire and safety risk of leaving (the defective clip) on there," said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which includes the fire marshal's office.

Operators of the affected stations were not happy with the ruling.

"We believe the fire marshal's action is much more unsafe than leaving the clips on and doing appropriate inspections," said Tom Robinson, owner of 34 Rotten Robbie stations and the plaintiff in the court case.

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