posttrib
STEAMY 
Weather Updates

More than 200 gas stations had bad gas

BP pumps sit idle Luke Oil corner US 30 Mississippi St Merrillville Wednesday afternoon. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

BP pumps sit idle at the Luke Oil at the corner of US 30 and Mississippi St in Merrillville Wednesday afternoon. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 35734540
tmspicid: 13030859
fileheaderid: 6008649

Updated: September 24, 2012 7:48AM



About 200 retail outlets in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area were supplied with the off-specification regular grade gasoline that is part of BP’s 2.1 million gallon recall. The tainted gasoline contained a higher than normal level of polymeric residue, which can lead to hard starting and other drivability issues.

“The company continues to go through its shipping records and is contacting retailers who may have loaded tanker trucks with the off-specification fuel and is replacing it with on-specification product,” BP said in the statement.

Scott Dean, BP spokesman, said all the company’s resellers have been instructed to bag their pumps and not sell regular or mid-grade gasoline until BP is able to pump out the tanks.

“We believe our resellers are complying with this order. There is still some of the retail product sitting in underground storage tanks, but we expect our retailers are abiding by that retail notice,” Dean said.

Dean said midgrade gasoline is included in the order not to sell because most gas stations only have two underground storage tanks, one for regular and one for premium grade fuels. Midgrade fuel is mixed from those two tanks on site.

The polymeric substance causing the problems is a naturally occurring byproduct of the refining process, Dean said. BP has not yet been able to identify how the larger than normal levels of the polymeric substance got into the two cargos of fuel, the larger at the BP Whiting terminal and the smaller at the Milwaukee, Wis., terminal.

“Basically it’s larger than normal hydrocarbon molecules that don’t burn or combust and cause a residue,” Dean said.

The company is working on putting out a technical service bulletin specifically directed at auto dealerships and mechanics concerning what effect the residue may have on a combustion engine.

BP also is still in the process of going through its bills of lading to determine exactly where the gasoline went. The names of those stations will be made available when the process is complete.

Drivers from around the region have been seeking repairs after filling up at stations including but not limited to BP, Speedway, Luke Oil, Costco and Family Express.

Tony James, owner of Northwest Indiana Auto Supply in Merrillville said as repairs continue consumers need to know where the bad gas may be and what exactly the polymeric substance will do to their vehicles.

“BP needs to come out and identify No. 1 what filling stations it went to and what it does to internal combustion engine,” James said.

Driver Sean Hussey, who spent $1,400 to have his 2004 Chevy Blazer fixed after a tank of bad gas said he was in a quandary Wednesday when his tank again became low.

“You shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the gasoline is good enough that you’re putting in your car. How do you know where to fill up? … It’s kind of like playing Russian roulette,” Hussey said.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.