BP @ Whiting, IN, Aug 20. (c) Patrick DeHaan
After announcing yesterday that BP is recalling potentially contaminated fuel that was shipped from its Whiting storage terminal (Aug. 13-17) throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana, BP reiterated that it stands by every gallon of gasoline it sells and is aggressively correcting the problem.

As reported by Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan yesterday, the company has also set up a customer hotline (1-800-333-3991) to manage inquiries, but spokesman Scott Dean said today that he encourages consumers to wait until this afternoon due to heavy call volume. An email address for consumers is also available: bpconsum@bp.com.

If customers bought BP fuel that originated at a storage tank that BP says may have been contaminated, then their vehicles might have hard starting, stalling and other drivability issues.

The number of gas stations and vehicles that may have been affected remains undetermined. Dean says BP's customer relations staff is working today on getting a hard number that will give the company a sense of scale.

"We're responding with an abundance of caution. We've advised fuel retailers that if they have any of that gas in their tanks we will replace it with fresh fuel.

Dean said he's not concerned that the situation may invite calls from opportunists looking to cash in because the BP fuel has markers that help identify it.

We have checks and balances in place to check quality and I have to tell you it's very unusual. I haven't seen a problem like this in more than 10 years," he noted.

"Periodically you get a heavy storm that causes some stations to get some water in their underground storage tanks... every once in a while you might get cross-contamination where a diesel tanker wasn't cleaned properly and then it's filled with gasoline that's contaminated and it might get to a couple of stations... but it's very rare to have an issue like this at a terminal level."

Dean said he's confident that the problem will be corrected and consumers who may have been impacted will be fully satisfied. Every day we're providing customers with 50 million gallons of fuel; I hope customers will judge us by how we respond to the situation and how we honor our guarantee and I think that will factor into their future purchases.

Dean wants customers to know the BP guarantee: "BP is committed to fuel quality and guarantees every gallon of gasoline we sell. Again, any customer who’s vehicle has experienced these symptoms during this period should contact BP’s customer hotline at 1-800-333-3991 or bpconsum@bp.com."