Oil giant BP America recalled unleaded regular fuel Monday from its northwest Indiana distributors that came from a Whiting, Ind., refinery, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
The gas that was stored at the refinery from Aug. 13 to 17 is said to cause stalling and other vehicle problems, the newspaper said, adding that customers with car issues reached as far west as Hammond, Ind., and Lansing.
That has had some Lincoln-Way residents worried that area stations might be carrying the bad batch of fuel. There are BP stations in , and .
Some non-branded stations that aren't owned by another oil company—such as the pumps found at 7-Elevens, Walmarts, Costcos and similar operations—also receive gas from BP on a station-by-station basis.
A spokeswoman from Michigan-based Atlas Oil, which distributes BP fuel and owns many of the BP-branded gas stations in the Chicago area, including the one at , said the company was aware of the problem but wasn't sure how far-reaching the problem was. She said concerned consumers should call BP's customer service hotline at 800-333-3991.
When Patch contacted the hotline, the representative said BP couldn't determine all the stations the recalled fuel was delivered to. He said he couldn't speculate if fuel was delivered as far as the Lincoln-Way area but that it was possible. The best thing consumers could do to make sure their local station doesn't have the bad fuel is to contact the station's manager, the customer representative said.
Refusing to give his name, the manager at the BP gas station in Frankfort would not comment on the situation and referred all questions to Atlas Oil when Patch called Tuesday. The manager at the Mokena BP station on 191st Street also declined to comment Wednesday and said all media inquiries needed to be handled by BP.
However, a Frankfort station employee Patch spoke to Tuesday said some customers had complained about problems and were given incident report forms to fill out, which is company policy and does not mean the station had been selling or received any of the recalled gas.
BP in New Lenox has received no notification of its involvement.
The manager, who could not reveal her name, at the BP station at Route 30 and Cedar Road in New Lenox said Aug. 23 "as far as we know, our gas hasn't been impacted."
BP officials have been notifying the stations that were selling tainted gas, she said. "I've been talking to (other station managers) about it," but she's received no official word one way or the other about her station.
"I'm assuming that we didn't (sell tainted gas.)"
Having gathered information as best she could, the New Lenox station manager said she has learned about a website, www.BPResonse, which provides an additional phone line for consumer claims.
A statement on the website reads: "BP has also established a second phone line for the processing of consumer claims in order to better assist those who believe their vehicle may have been harmed by using this fuel. Any consumer wishing to file a claim should save sales receipts, credit/debit card records and repair bills and should call 1-800-333-3991 or 1-800-599-9040 to speak to a claims representative."
Further information about the matter is also available.
The manager said consumers should be aware that there are specific telltale signs, if the tainted gas had been used.
- Your car either won't start at all or it will be a problematic start.
- If it does start, then you'll hear a very loud and disturbing noise.
BP guarantees its gas and will reimburse customers for repairs if it's determined that the BP gas caused damage to the vehicle. Consumers can call the BP hotline at 800-333-3991 to report a problem or go to the company's website for more details about the guarantee.
One New Lenox resident, Richard Veis, said he believes his car was the victim of tainted fuel. He described his experience with the car.
Veis said he filled his car on Aug. 20, but BP officials said the recall pertained to deliveries between Aug. 13-17.
However, his vehicle showed no signs of mechanical difficulties at first, he said. It wasn't until he was on the way home, that the "car was giving fits, didn't want to start" right away. The next day, it was "running rough."
Veis stopped at the station and was told that BP had not identified them as distributors of bad gas. "I told (the manager) what happened" and was directed to call the 800 number."
Because the number was busy, Veis said he sent an email describing the situation. He is still waiting for a claim form in the mail.
"(The) car still runs rough" even at half-a-tank. "What a nightmare."
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