Contaminated BP gasoline at 20 Milwaukee-area gas stations

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WHITING, Ind. (AP) -- BP is alerting northwestern Indiana fuel distributors that it's recalling unleaded regular gasoline shipped from its Whiting fuel storage terminal Aug. 13-17. The company said Monday, August 20th it believes that fuel stored in a tank at the storage depot could cause hard starting, stalling and other drivability issues. That fuel was shipped to 20 gas stations in the Milwaukee area between Monday and Tuesday of this week.

BP asks any customer whose vehicle has experienced those problems since Aug. 13 to contact its customer hotline at 1-800-333-3991 or 1-800-599-9040.

BP says it's going through shipping records and contacting customers who may have loaded tanker trucks at the terminal during the affected period. Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan doesn't think this will have much impact on drivers far away from the source of the contamination, but says that doesn't mean there is zero risk. He says the gasoline was likely being stored for local delivery, which means it is unlikely that gasoline shipped via pipeline from the refinery is impacted, and only local deliveries, or trucks that go directly to the refinery, are those impacted.

DeHaan says drivers in southwest Michigan, Chicago and NW Indiana could be more at risk of getting the bad gas.

Auto mechanic Noel Latus was working Wednesday, August 22nd on a Jeep that has had trouble starting. Latus found out from the vehicle's owner he filled up his car this week at the BP gas station in Greenfield -- one of 20 stations in the Milwaukee area where the contaminated fuel was shipped.

Latus tested the vehicle and through a "gravity test" determined the vehicle did, in fact, have contaminated fuel. Latus said he noticed the difference between the regular gasoline and the contaminated batch.

"It's a real smooth, soft, like lotion feel to it. No evaporation to the fuel at all," Latus said.

To fix the problem, Latus had to drain the fuel system and clean the injectors and fuel rails.

"The good news is you did it fast, before you did any other damage," Latus said.

The problem cost about $300 for Latus to fix -- rather than thousands if the owner drove longer and caused more damage.

Drivers with vehicles that are having trouble starting, with extended crank times or a check engine light on should get their vehicles checked out. Drivers who filled up Monday or Tuesday at a BP gas station may also want to see a mechanic and save their receipts.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the recall, and making a claim with BP.

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