BP: We guarantee our gas, will reimburse for repairs
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 21, 2012 1:20PM
The BP Whiting facility. | Sun-Times Media File
BP spokesman Scott Dean said the company has expanded the fuel recall to include a small amount sold overnight in Wisconsin.
“We traced a small amount of premium and mid-grade fuel trucked to the Milwaukee area and sold between 10 p.m. Monday evening and 6:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. We have also stopped it from being sold,” Dean said.
He said the company has also heard anecdotal reports of it being sold in Michigan near the border.
“But we think this is unlikely because Southwestern Michigan is not an reformulated gasoline (RFG) area. It is unlikely anyone would buy the more expensive RFG product at the Whiting terminal and put it into a non RFG market,” Dean said.
He said BP is continuing to investigate, but the greater Northwest Indiana area around Lake County still appears to be the epicenter.
Updated: September 23, 2012 6:12AM
More than 4,500 calls and 800 emails flooded the BP customer hotline by early afternoon Tuesday as the company worked to beef up staff to handle the call volume in the wake of a Monday gasoline recall of 2.1 million gallons.
Scott Dean, BP spokesman, said the company has been adding staff members as quickly as possible to help field the calls that swamped the phone system.
“We do apologize for the delays. The phones were at capacity this morning,” Dean said.
He advised customers to take advantage of the email line firstname.lastname@example.org to avoid long hold times. Dean said customers whose vehicles were impacted by the gasoline are covered by the BP guarantee even if they did not get through to the call center.
“We are glad customers are communicating with us. We guarantee every gallon we sell,” Dean said.
The call center phone number is (800) 333-3991. BP has also set up a website to help deal with the recall: www.bp
“The BP Fuels Guarantee is more than just a statement,” the company says on its website. “In the unlikely event that you experience fuel-system trouble due to the use of Amoco Ultimates, BP Silver (mid-grade), BP Regular or BP Diesel, we’ll reimburse you for the repairs … .”
Deans said individuals experiencing problems should save their fuel receipt and mechanic’s repair bill to forward a claim to the company. Dean said in the cases where customers did not retain their fuel receipt the company is usually able to work with bank statements for the claim process.
According to Dean, the vast majority of the calls to the center appear to be coming from Lake and Porter counties. However, due to the scope of the recall — 50,000 barrels which is equal to 2.1 million gallons— it is possible service stations just across the border in both Illinois and Michigan received some of the recalled gasoline.
While some consumers grapple with getting their vehicles up and running, the rest of the region is left wondering what this major recall may do to gasoline prices.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com, said 50,000 barrels of gasoline was more than he would have expected to be impacted by the recall but he does not expect it to directly impact local gasoline prices.
“If this had occurred earlier in the summer, possibly,” DeHaan said.
Gas prices in Northwest Indiana have been trending lower since last week when the average price was $4.07 a gallon. This week that price is about $3.89 a gallon.
“That’s a pretty good drop. The trickle down should continue,” DeHaan said. He said the BP Whiting refinery can produce four times that volume of gasoline in a day, so the recalled product represents just a couple hours of a day’s production.
“It’s pretty unlikely this issue will impact prices but that’s subject to change. We will have to see how the market reacts,” DeHaan said.
Merrillville Costco members may be able to avoid the BP hotline altogether. Jeff Cole, vice president of gasoline for Issaquah, Wash.,-based Costco, said the warehouse club will be in touch with all of its members Wednesday outlining a claims process.
“We want to make sure we take care of them. As a membership warehouse club, the relationship between members and the company is a trust relationship. We will do whatever we can to make it right, to make sure four our members it’s as painless as possible,” Cole said.
He said the company will be working with BP to help ensure the situation does not occur again in the future.