22 Jan 2018

Sulphuric petrol damaging car gauges - fuel companies

4:58 pm on 22 January 2018

Elevated levels of sulphur in petrol sold in Auckland has led to inaccurate dashboard readings, fuel companies say.

Fuel pump.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

People posted on social media saying they ran out of fuel despite their fuel gauges showing a quarter tank.

"Today we ran out of petrol first time ever in 40 years of driving because one of these purchases stuffed my fuel gauge, so it still showed petrol and my back up orange light did not activate.

"The towing guy who came to our rescue said we are the fourth car this has happened to in recent weeks," one woman said.

BP, Z and Mobil service stations said batches of 91 and 95 petrol sold between November and December had elevated sulphur levels.

Fuel company spokesperson Leigh Taylor said all fuel sold met regulated specifications, but the companies set a voluntary specification for active sulphur levels which was exceeded in these batches.

"The fuel companies in question are investigating the issue further, and recommend that customers with any concerns around the accuracy of their fuel gauge should ensure their gauges read above half and get their vehicle checked by their local vehicle dealer.

"Currently our understanding is that this has been limited to a relatively small group of customers with a specific vehicle type," Ms Taylor said.

She added that it appeared Holden and Mazda cars were affected.

The vast majority of vehicles will not be affected at all, she said.

"We do however encourage vehicle owners with concerns around their fuel gauge performance who have refuelled within the identified timeframe to immediately check with their vehicle manufacturer.

"If there are concerns - particularly if the gauge does not drop below a quarter full - please ensure the vehicle has plenty of fuel and get it checked," she said.

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