Inquiry into 'contaminated' fuel


Sheep worrier.
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Aug 8, 2001
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The edge.
Ethanol content should be made clear
Trading standards officials have launched an investigation after drivers complained that they had been sold "contaminated" fuel.
Drivers from across south-east England believe they may have been sold petrol containing ethanol, which has damaged their cars.

Their vehicles have been juddering, misfiring and had a loss of power.

But the AA said tests showed ethanol was not to blame and the cause of the problem remained unknown.

AA technical specialist Vanessa Guyll said drivers would notice problems with the running of their cars almost immediately, and providing they sought help quickly it was "unlikely" the contaminated petrol would cause any long-term damage to engines.

'Damaged oxygen sensors'

Ian Hillier, a petroleum spokesman for the Trading Standards Institute, said: "I understand that there have been around 75-100 complaints from people in south-east England.

"Including ethanol in petrol is not really contaminating it, but there has be a clear warning to people who buy petrol as to exactly what is in it."

Dozens of drivers have also been contacting BBC Radio Northampton's consumer programme after filling up their cars with the allegedly contaminated fuel.

Dave Odell works for Tony Brooks' a garage in Northampton. He said the garage had had a number of cars with damaged oxygen sensors.

Some car dealerships say they are trying to repair the damaged cars, which are now off the road, but the parts they need are now in short supply.

'Thousands affected'

Some drivers say they bought "contaminated" fuel from Tesco and Morrisons petrol stations.

Tesco says it rigorously tests its fuel to the highest European standards, and sources from the same suppliers as competitors.

Motorist Darren Ross, 42, has complained to the Department of Trade and Industry about the problem.

He buys petrol for his Saab convertible 1.8T at the Tesco superstore in Waltham Abbey, Essex, close to where he lives, and believes it led to his car breaking down.

His local Saab dealership told him it was a fault with sensors and that they had had 15 other similar problems over the last week.

Mr Ross said the repairs are costing him £200, which is not covered by his warranty because they are linked to a fuel fault.

"I want compensation and reimbursement. I need my car for my work and it has been back to Saab four times in the last two weeks."