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    Tainted Gas Clogs Cars in Washington

    Fourteen counties affected by bad batch of ConocoPhillips gasoline.

    SEATTLE -- ConocoPhillips officials said a batch of gas contaminated with a chemical compound that clogs fuel injectors was distributed to gas stations operating under the 76 brand in as many as 14 counties in western Washington.

    The tainted gas from a Ferndale refinery is causing Washington cars to sputter, reported the Associated Press.

    According to the ConocoPhillips Web site, www.conocophillips.com, affected counties included in the advisory are: Lewis, Pacific, Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Jefferson, Island and Clallam.

    ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Lara Dilley did not know how many gallons were affected and it was unclear how the compound got into the gas.

    "We are still conducting an investigation on how exactly it got into the tank," Dilley told the AP. She said the tank of gas has been isolated and is no longer in service.

    The company has promised to pay for repairs on vehicles with fuel injectors clogged by bad gasoline if they are taken to authorized dealerships. It also said that gasoline now for sale at service stations is not contaminated.

    Area car dealerships received a few calls, but didn't know if any of those cases were related to the tainted gas.

    "I haven't heard that it's in Cowlitz County, but it could be moving down I-5 (depending on where people have been driving)," said Bob Powell, parts and service director for Columbia Ford in Longview.

    Powell said he'd heard from one driver in Centralia and another in Longview with a high-mileage vehicle. Since the problems they described also could be due to aging automobiles, Powell said he wanted to check with Conoco before beginning work.

    "Conoco will pay for fuel injectors, but nothing else," Powell said. "So I'm a little leery until I get some more information."

    A clogged fuel injector causes rough idling and engines to miss, Powell said. "You'd notice a difference."

    Complaints of potential problems began about two weeks ago, Dilley said. Tests revealed the contamination and the company issued a warning last Friday about tainted gasoline sold in the Ferndale, Whatcom County, area. But as complaints mounted, it expanded the area to include all of western Washington, where there are roughly 300 76 stations.

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