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Indiana Attorney General Probes Bad Gas Crisis At BP

Whiting Refinery

A fence surrounds the BP refinery October 12, 2007 in Whiting, Indiana. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) — The Indiana Attorney General has opened an investigation into BP’s handling of the bad gasoline produced at its Whiting, Ind., refinery and its dealings with motorists whose vehicles were affected.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts writes Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he wants to make sure consumers’ rights are taken into consideration amid complaints from some BP customers. Some have said they called BP customer service phone lines on Tuesday and were placed on hold for two hours — only to have basic information taken and be told that someone would get back to them in five to seven business days.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Others said BP was making it difficult for them to receive compensation.

BP said Wednesday that is has opened a second customer service line to try to minimize the wait for motorists, but urged them to contact BP by e-mail or through its Web site instead.

BP has said it believes a 50,000-barrel batch of gasoline shipped from its Whiting fuel storage terminal Aug. 13-17 contained a higher level of a polymeric residue, which is difficult to burn in automobile engines.

While the problem is centered in Lake County, Ind., BP executives said the fuel has made its way across state lines into Illinois and Wisconsin. Motorists from southwestern Michigan have also called the oil giant.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said that more than 7,000 motorists have called or e-mailed to complain. He said the bad fuel was sold at 200 stations in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana and 20 stations in the Milwaukee metro area, although he could not pinpoint specific stations.

BP continues to ask those who have complaints to provide some form of proof of purchase, such as a receipt or a list of debit or credit card transactions that includes the purchase, as well as itemized repair bills.
BP said some of the tainted gasoline was sold at stations that are not BP-branded, including Tornton and Costco stations.

“BP stands by every gallon of gasoline we sell,” Dean said.

Dean said BP would pay for a replacement tank of gas and any repairs made necessary by bad gas.

Dean said customers can make complaints by one at (800) 333-3991 or 800-599-9040, can e-mail bpconsum@bp.com or visit http://www.bpresponse.com.