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May 10, 2012

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Gas station admits cars damaged by gasoline

A SHANGHAI gas station is being investigated by the city's quality watchdog after hundreds of car owners complained their cars were damaged after filling up with 93-octane gasoline.

The PetroChina station on Lianhua Road S. in Minhang District shut down on Tuesday evening after a number of customers gathered in protest, asking staff to pay compensation for their damaged vehicles.

They said they had encountered a series of problems after they filled up at the station last week.

"My car suddenly had engine failure when running on the road. Now the exhaust pipe is rusted by the gasoline as black water is running out of it," one owner told Shanghai TV.

"This is a new car that I bought only half month ago, but now the entire exhaust pipe is rusted after filling up with gasoline in the station," another driver said.

Yuan Jianming, the gas station's owner, admitted that the station didn't use gasoline from PetroChina, one of the country's two biggest oil companies, as it was required to do, but had bought cheaper fuel from another refinery to cut costs.

Yuan said the station had the PetroChina name because the company held 30 percent of the station's stock. In an agreement, the station had to share profits with PetroChina each year and was required to use the company's oil.

"Each ton of gasoline provided by other plants is 300 to 400 yuan cheaper than that from PetroChina," Yuan said.

"As we want to earn more profits, we decided to purchase oil from other plants and PetroChina didn't try to stop us," he said.

Yuan said their investigation had found that the gasoline they bought from other plants on April 28 had certain problems that caused the damage.

He promised car owners that the station would compensate customers who had filled up on April 28, 29, and 30.

Some taxi drivers, however, were not happy with the compensation plan as they argued that the damage to their cars disrupted their work and had reduced their incomes.

Yuan said the station would pay taxi drivers 350 yuan for each day their work was disrupted because of damage to their cars.

Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision authorities said they were investigating the incident.


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