TRAFFIC STOPPER: E10 fuel containing water affected multiple cars that filled up at the Jetty United service station.
TRAFFIC STOPPER: E10 fuel containing water affected multiple cars that filled up at the Jetty United service station. Trevor Veale

Motorists left high and dry by water in E10

MOTORISTS have lodged claims for damage to their vehicles after refuelling at a Coffs Harbour service station.

More than 30 motorists were stranded on Tuesday morning when their vehicles broke down after filling up with unleaded E10 at United Petroleum on Harbour Dr.

Testing has since been undertaken to determine how the water got into the storages and affected bowsers have been shut following complaints from customers.

Coffs Harbour resident Maureen Nutting is one of the affected motorists.

Her Honda Civic broke down within metres of the bowser after filling up.

Mrs Nutting said the damage bill tallied $267, which she has lodged with United Fuel's claims department in Melbourne.

"Cars were breaking down in the middle of the street - it was absolute chaos," Maureen said.

"When my car stopped I called the NRMA and water poured out from the petrol cap - the car was a mess."

She's waiting on confirmation United Petroleum will accept liability and provide compensation.

An NRMA spokesman said it was common for small volumes of water to sit at the bottom of tanks at some service stations without issue, as oil and water do not mix.

But it was the level of water that concerned the affected motorists and mechanics.

Mechanics had extracted a "75%-25%" liquid ratio of fuel to water from Coffs Harbour resident Rob Wright's vehicle.

Mr Wright said the repair bill for the damage came to $613.

Both motorists described the "unprofessional" nature of the business, with members of the public left to place out of order signs on the affected pumps when staff refused.

United Petroleum has refused to comment to the Coffs Coast Advocate on the situation.



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