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Another Blow for BP

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, British Petroleum has received nearly 6,500 claims from motorists trying to recoup hundreds of dollars they spent for car repairs after receiving contaminated BP gasoline. BP has received nearly 19,000 inquiries from motorists. The company last week recalled 2.1 million gallons of gasoline from its Whiting, Indiana refinery. The bad gas has affected service stations in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. As a result of the problems, BP has checked its entire distribution system.

According to a BP spokesman, "We're at a point where we're confident that all the products put out by the refinery and distributed by our terminals - they've all been tested," he said. "So, any gasoline in the three-state area has been tested and is within good quality specifications." "We're very confident that 'regular' is in good shape now," he said, adding that regular-grade accounts for more than 80 percent of gasoline sold in the region.

The source of the contamination apparently came when one feed of oil piped into a refining unit - called the alkylation unit, or alky - did not have the correct molecular makeup and contaminated the gasoline. "We found and cut off the problem to the alkylation unit. One of the streams of feed it was getting was bad - it was not of the chemical composition we wanted," Dean said.

However, by the time the problem was discovered, the bad gasoline had spread throughout BP distribution channels. Motorists experienced problems such as hard-starting, stalling, rough idling and illumination of the check-engine light. In most cases, spark plugs and fuel injectors essentially became dirty and did not work correctly. Repairs, which primarily consist of draining the fuel tank and cleaning the fuel system, cost $300 to $1,200.

Motorists who believe their vehicles have been damaged by the contaminated fuel can file a claim by calling BP's customer hotline at 800-333-3991 or 800-599-9040. Consumers can also access information and submit an online inquiry at bpresponse.com. Consumers should save sales receipts, credit or debit card records and repair bills, the company said.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.

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