About Z

Questions and answers on fuel supplied potentially causing fuel gauge accuracy issue

30/12/2017 - General News

What has happened here?

One batch of 91 octane petrol and three batches of 95 octane petrol have been released between the end of November and the middle of December with levels of active sulphur above industry standards. Diesel is not affected.

Elevated active sulphur (or elemental sulphur) levels may be linked to a small number of complaints from motorists regarding the accuracy of their fuel gauges. A small number of Holden vehicles have experienced fuel gauges showing they have a quarter of a tank remaining when they are in fact out of fuel.

What is the required fuel specification for active sulphur?

There is no legislated fuel specification for active sulphur but in New Zealand the fuel industry has a limit which has been exceeded in these three batches.

Why are you telling us now?

Independent test result data confirming elevated levels of active sulphur in the fuel was received this morning. This has been made public as quickly as possible. While the number of complaints has been very small, and so far limited to Holden vehicles only, we feel it is our duty to transparent about this matter.

If the fuel issue is found to be linked to the fuel gauge error, we expect a very small number of people will have been impacted. We are communicating now to ensure there is awareness of this possibility so that people can take steps to make sure they do not run out of fuel.

Is this fuel still in the market?

BP, Mobil and Z all would have taken some of this fuel for sale to customers. This fuel will have been used and motorists should not be concerned with the fuel they are buying now. Additional testing has been conducted to give assurance of this.

What companies have been selling this fuel?

Almost every brand in the market could potentially have sold this fuel, except Gull which imports its own fuel.

Will there be any other impact on a vehicle?

No. And we stress the point: we don’t think this will have or will have had any impact on the overwhelming majority of vehicles. There are approximately four million vehicles in New Zealand, this fuel was sold widely across almost all fuel retailing brands and we are aware of a small number of complaints for one brand of vehicle.

How many complaints are you aware of and where / what vehicles?

The best we know is that around 90 complaints have been received of this fuel potentially leading to inaccurate readings. All of these as far as we know seem to be Holden vehicles and all have come from Auckland.

If the current issues being experienced in these vehicles is shown to be connected to the fuel we would not have expect these levels of active sulphur to present a problem for the vast majority of vehicles. Most motor vehicles have fuel sender units with a level of additional protection against such an occurrence.

So what are you doing about it?

People with any concerns around the accuracy of their fuel gauge should ensure their gauges read above half full before having their vehicle checked by the local vehicle dealer.

The fuel companies will assess any claims for the costs of repairs that are found to be a result of this issue. Customers should contact the fuel company they purchased their fuel from with any queries or concerns.

If the current issue being experienced is shown to be connected to the fuel, we fully expect that at these levels of active sulphur, the vast majority of vehicles will not be impacted at all.

So what should I do?

We encourage vehicle owners – particularly Holden owners – with concerns around their fuel gauge performance who have refuelled between approximately late November and the middle of December to ensure their gauge reads more than half full and immediately check with their vehicle manufacturer. The fuel companies will assess any claims for the costs of repairs that are found to be a result of this issue. Customers should contact the fuel company they purchased their fuel from with any queries or concerns.