South Dakota’s gas station population dropped to a record low after a surge in sales of gasoline cars.
Gasoline cars, with their distinctive green lights and engine noises, are popular with drivers in the Dakotas.
South Dakota State Police Lt.
Mark Kibby said the number of gasoline-related deaths in the state jumped from 15 in January to 26 in March, with most of the increase occurring in South Dakotans.
“A lot of people don’t realize that when they see a gas station that looks like a car, they are thinking of gasoline,” he said.
The South Dakota Department of Health and Human Services said the increase in deaths stemmed from the introduction of a new type of gasoline car, the “Super Spark Diesel.”
“The Super Spark Diesel was developed to combat the toxic gases that cause gasoline-induced engine deaths, and we’ve seen that it has greatly reduced the number and severity of gasoline engine deaths in many parts of the state,” said Julie Moulton, a spokeswoman for the health department.
Moulton said that in the first two months of this year, the state saw an average of about 14 fatalities each week due to gasoline-fueled vehicle engine deaths.
Last month, South Dakota Gov.
Dennis Daugaard said the state would spend $5 million on “improving the state’s vehicle emission controls.”
The new emissions standards will increase vehicle efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions, Daugard said.