I refer to Matters of Moment (December 1989) where you discuss motor fuel. In your comments you have overlooked, or may not be aware of, a very much more serious problem.
Without informing the motoring public, the oil companies and the British Government have altered the specification of gasoline. The effect of this change is to make the fuel for spark ignition engines much more volatile. A harmless result of this change is that vapour locks might be more common between the fuel pump and the carburettor — but far more dangerous Is the fact that this fuel is far more likely to explode when exposed to the atmosphere. Lead free appears to be the worst culprit.
Already this year six or seven service stations have burnt down in the East Anglia area. Fire fighting crews who arrive at the fire have found that at first they can get the fire under control only for the fuel to re-ignite. By now the fire fighters have used up their reserve of foam, or whatever is now used for liquid fire, and virtually have to stand back and watch the fire burn itself out, a position they hate. The risk of the fire in a car either from the re-filling from a can or from some other fault is much increased, as can be seen from the number of car fires reported in the newspapers and on television.
MOTOR SPORT readers will no need no reminding that the British Government has granted itself immunity from prosecution on a charge of murder, if a car occupant is killed by the legal wearing of a seat belt. So one does not want to get caught in a burning car. Carrying some sort of cutting equipment seems a very good idea. “CONCERNED” (Name and address supplied — Ed.)
Rumblings, July 1971
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