The Ultimate disgrace

BALLINA Petroleum has admitted to selling sub-standard Ultimate fuel, while BP has vowed to terminate the company's supply contract. Ultimate bowsers have been shut down at all of Ballina Petroleum's 11 BP petrol stations across the Northern Rivers after testing revealed octane levels in the fuel were too low. A BP spokesman yesterday said the stations in Ballina, Broadwater, Lismore, Wardell, Byron Bay, Goonellbah and Wollongbar, would remain open until 'alternatives' were considered. "We are ending our relationship with Ballina Petroleum and we've commenced steps to terminate our supply agreement with them," the BP spokesman said. "We're considering our alternatives now to try and continue the BP brand in the region." He said those alternatives would take into account Ballina Petroleum's existing 150 employees. Ballina Petroleum spokesman Santo Pennisi yesterday issued a statement to the media apologising for misleading the community. "Our actions were wrong," he said. "We are now looking at ways in which we can make restitution to the community. "We want to make it up to people." Mr Pennisi said some of the fuel sold by Ballina Petroleum was advertised to be 98 octane, but its levels were much lower because standard unleaded fuel had been added to the product. He guessed the company had reaped an extra $150,000 over the past three years as a result of the false advertising. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also investigating the matter, however, it has indicated BP is not the subject of its investigation. Drivers concerned about engine-related issues as a result of using the low octane fuel can call the BP Technical Helpline from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, on 1300 139 700.

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