Experts blame silicon for faulty fuel (Europe)
Investigators probing a faulty batch of fuel have discovered signs of contamination.
Trading Standards officers in Cambridgeshire said they found traces of silicon in the fuel, which has caused thousands of motorists expensive repair bills.
Silicone is used in the blending process to prevent foaming in the fuel tank, but silicon – an element also used in breast implants – is said to be the contaminant causing vehicles' oxygen sensors to malfunction.
Dr Richard Pike, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: "The heart of this is quality control assurance and the possibility that chemicals not usually used in the oil industry have contaminated the petrol.
"It may be something in the base of a container that was not washed out. That is one way the contamination could have got in."
Yesterday we reported thousands of breakdowns – mainly in the South East – were traced to a batch of fuel from a distribution centre in Essex.
The Trading Standards Institute has said the sample of fuel it tested complies with British and European standards.
But the organisation said compliance with the standards does not mean the fuel wasn't contaminated and tests are continuing.
Tesco has set up an emergency helpline on 0800 0286428, and a website, faultyfuel.com, has been set up to help affected motorists seek compensation.