If your car has been misbehaving lately–starting hard, idling rough, stalling–you may want to think about the last place you filled up your tank within the past couple of weeks. Thousands of motorists in the Midwest have had to take their vehicles to the shop during the past few weeks because the fuel they recently purchased was below standard, polluted by higher-than-normal amounts of polymeric residue.
Today, BP released a list of gas stations affected. In Chicagoland: north to Wisconsin state line, west to Marengo, south to Joliet, east to Indiana state line.
BP recalled almost five million gallons of bad gasoline. The fuel was blended at BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana, between August 13 and 17. The problem was discovered, and a week ago, BP instructed affected retail outlets not to sell the gas. The company is trucking it back to the refinery for reprocessing.
Meanwhile, consumer car repair bills are mounting in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, which received the fuel, and neighboring states. Typically, a vehicle harmed by this type of off-spec gasoline needs to have its fuel tank emptied and the whole fuel system cleaned. Costs range from about $300 to $1000. It doesn’t matter whether you bought regular or premium–all grades of gas were affected.
BP is one of the top five refiners in the U.S. and claims to provide enough energy each year to light the entire country. The BP Whiting Refinery, which produced the tainted gas, is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal in the communities of Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond, Indiana. BP states that “Whiting Refinery is the second largest refinery in the BP refining system, and the 6th largest refinery in the United States.”
Recognizing the error at Whiting, BP has set up an electronic claims system that accepts sales receipts, credit and debit card records, and repair bills as proof of damage. The petroleum giant has received almost 10,000 claims to date and expects more in the mail in coming days. BP has activated 159 call center operators and 140 claims adjusters to deal with the situation.
People who have recently have traveled through the three states affected are also at risk. Although the majority of claims against BP (including several class-action lawsuits) are from Indiana, over a quarter of the claimants (28%) are Illinois residents.
About 3% of the claims being processed by BP so far have come from outside the region, many from Ohio, so it’s wise to alert family, friends, and business associates who passed through the affected states. Complicating matters, not all BP stations in the area are reported to have received bad gas. Most (but not all) of the outlets sold BP-branded gasoline, and some non-BP stations also carried the substandard fuel.
- Access BP’s online database of 300 gas stations that sold the recalled fuel here through your mobile phone, tablet, or regular computer.
- The company says that gas from that refinery has been tested again and is now up to standard. If you bought the bad gas and had repairs made, you can go online here for more information and claims forms.
- File a claim with BP by calling 800-599-9040, mailing BP Fuel Claims, P.O. Box 1148, Hammond, LA 70404, or emailing email@example.com. The claims office is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice.
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