A PETROL company has launched an investigation into fuel contamination at one of its Tasmanian sites following multiple reports of cars breaking down after owners purchased unleaded fuel.

The complaints relate to fuel purchased between Tuesday and Thursday last week at BP’s Lindisfarne station.

BP’s investigation comes as an independent mechanic who took a sample of the fuel told the Mercury he strongly suspected it had been contaminated with diesel.

On one Eastern Shore community Facebook page there are at least 20 accounts from people who purchased fuel from Lindisfarne last week who experienced car trouble.

Complaints include cars shuddering, blowing black smoke, losing power or stopping completely.

A woman who spoke to the Mercury said her car began to run poorly soon after she purchased unleaded 91 fuel from the BP last Wednesday.

“I drove my car home which is not that far and the next morning I had a lot of trouble starting it and a lot of people’s cars didn’t go at all,” she said.

A spokeswoman for BP said the company was “very concerned” to hear about the issues reported by multiple customers after refuelling at the Lindisfarne site.

“BP takes our fuel quality seriously and as soon as customers raised concerns, we promptly closed the unleaded 91 fuel pumps at the site on Friday afternoon as a precaution. After receiving additional feedback we have also temporarily closed the diesel pumps,” the spokeswoman said.

“A full investigation is now underway, which will include independent laboratory testing of the fuel. If it is confirmed that the fuel purchased has contributed to a problem with a customer’s vehicle, BP’s fuel guarantee will apply.”

An independent mechanic who drained fuel from a car whose owner had purchased unleaded fuel from Lindisfarne said it appeared diesel fuel had entered the unleaded petrol supply.

“It looks like diesel to me, that’s my suspicion,” he said.

RACT general manager mobility services Darren Moody said the RACT had received a small number of calls from affected members.

Mr Moody said fuel contamination at a petrol station was a rare occurrence.

“It doesn’t happen that often these days, as over a period of the last 10 years most of the older-style tanks have come out of the ground and been replaced,” he said.

“Modern engines are a lot more susceptible to damage than older models.”

Mr Moody advised affected drivers to keep a receipt or record of their fuel purchase from their bank statement and take a sample of the fuel.

Extracted from Adelaide Now