BP gas recall after Indiana drivers buy bad fuel

August 21, 2012 3:24:10 PM PDT
BP says more than 5,000 customers have needed repairs to their vehicles after using tainted gasoline.

The company has recalled more than 2 million gallons of gas that was shipped to northwest Indiana and some south suburbs from a storage tank in Whiting, Indiana.

"The greater northwest Indiana area around Lake County (Indiana) still appears to be the epicenter," said BP Spokesman Scott Dean.

Auto technicians around the region were very busy Tuesday.

The recall is from BP, but the gas may have been purchased at stations other than BP. The contaminated gasoline was apparently sold at other retail outlets. A small quantity of premium and mid-grade fuel trucked to the Milwaukee area and sold between late Monday, August 20, and early Tuesday, August 21), has also been recalled, Dean told ABC7.

The good news: It appears that the gas is not causing permanent damage to vehicles. But that doesn't mean there isn't a cost.

"Basically, the phone has been ringing off the hook," said Knight Automotive technician Andy Rinkovsky. "Everyone is having trouble starting their vehicles it seems."

Concerned customers near the Crown Point shop are coming to Knight for help.

"It just shook and shook real bad," said motorist Gus Metros. "It kept shaking and shaking, and I kept pumping the gas. Pumping. And finally it took, it started."

BP says 2.1 million gallons of regular gas blended in Whiting between August 13 and 17 had a higher level of polymeric residue.

"These are larger molecules that are removed normally from the refining process," said Dean.

The owner of Knight Automotive says he is hearing about customers being charged hundreds of dollars to remedy the problem. He says it is a job that should be less than $200 -- or motorists may be able to deal with it themselves .

"The easiest is, if they can run the bad gas out, it's not damaging any components in the vehicle," said Bill Knight. "You run it out and go, put some high-octane fuel in it, and everything seems to be fine after that."

Eric Olsen had a problem with how his SUV was running. He was following Knight's suggestion.

"I'm just looking for my car to get back to where it was. Simple as that," Olsen said. "I heard there was a 2-to-3 hour wait on the BP line. I havent even called. if this works, I'm done."

The BP spokesman says any customers with expenses related to the recalled gas will be reimbursed. He adds that the expenses must be documented and urges customers to have receipts and itemized information from your auto shop.

The phone number for BP is 1-800-333-3991. Customers can also e-mail bpconsum@bp.com.

BP has added more staff to field calls due to complaints about getting through.

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