Exxon gasoline terminal reopens after bad batch

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — ExxonMobil has reopened the racks at its Baton Rouge gasoline terminal after it shut the facility down because of problems involving more than 5 million gallons of unleaded regular fuel.

Two batches of bad fuel produced at ExxonMobil in mid-March caused some Baton Rouge area drivers to experience problems with their intake and valve systems. The terminal re-opened Thursday, eight days after it was closed.

The Advocate reports that ExxonMobil investigated and blamed the problems on an “atypical variation” in the fuel, though all of the gasoline produced met regulatory specifications.

“We do not observe this variation in batches currently produced,” the company said in a statement released Thursday.

The company said it has dispatched claims representatives to Baton Rouge to work with consumers who purchased tainted fuel. Exxon said it has begun reimbursing people with valid claims.

“We have set some conservative, interim, internal guidelines in our refinery production process and are able to ensure that fuel currently sold is safe for use in vehicles,” the company said.

Reports of bad gasoline causing problems for motorists in the Baton Rouge area began surfacing more than a week ago.

The president of a Baton Rouge automotive shop said last week he had seen “40 or 50” cases of motorists getting bad fuel over the course of a week.

Mike Strain, Louisiana’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, said last week something in the fuel caused intake and valve systems of vehicles to gum up. Exxon said the two batches of gasoline totaled 120,000 barrels. A barrel contains 42 gallons.

The company produces about half of the gasoline sold in the Baton Rouge market.

Drivers with any questions or concerns about fuel they purchased in Baton Rouge or Lafayette should call ExxonMobil North America Customer Care toll free at (855) 300-2659.