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With national gas prices reaching an average of $3.75 for regular and $4.04 for premium, Americans would certainly favor any relief that they can get at the pump. So imagine the surprise felt by thousands of people who recently filled up their tanks only to learn that the gas they had pumped into their cars was “bad.” Most drivers probably aren’t even familiar with the term “bad” gasoline, so they certainly wouldn’t expect to deal with it from supposedly high-quality gas at their local station.

But that is exactly what happened in at least three states, as BP has announced the recall of more than 2.1 million gallons of gas due to increased levels of a polymer residue, according to the Associated Press. Through this week, BP has received more than 6,500 complaints of engine damage and repair costs from consumers, and at least two lawsuits have already been filed against the oil giant. The AP reports that the lead plaintiffs in each case have provided evidence of at least $1,000 in repair bills each, and as BP begins to submit reimbursements for these repairs, it is believed that it could develop into a class action lawsuit.

The Dangers of Bad Gasoline

Our automobiles’ engines operate smoothly when they have a combination of high-quality gasoline and air, but they react poorly and can face significant damage when they receive bad gasoline like that which was being sold at the BP stations in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Engine damage from poor-quality gas can lead to a variety of serious issues, including a constant knocking sound (known as “pinging”) or a rattling after the car has been turned off that gives the false impression that the car is still running.

Additionally, when a person is operating a vehicle and depends on it for everyday use, bad gasoline can cause dangerous engine stalls that could put the driver and passengers at serious risk. Decreased engine power can lead to poor performance and the car may not start or, even worse, it can stall out while the driver is operating the vehicle at high speeds.

The Real Cost of Bad Gasoline

Drivers in Illinois and Wisconsin – two of the three states that have been affected thus far by the poor-quality gasoline sold by BP – already face high gas prices as they rank in the Top 10 of the highest average costs in the country. Currently, drivers in these states are paying between $3.86 and $4.28 per gallon, depending on the grade. Having $1,000 in engine repairs tacked on is essentially adding insult to injury.