Some Auckland motorists are reported to have run out of gas after high-sulphur petrol caused a fuel gauge fault which led them to believe they still had plenty in the tank.
BP, Z and Mobil service stations are investigating after confirming testing of storage tanks showed an elevated level of sulphur in batches of 91 and 95 octane petrol sold in November and December.
The petrol met regulation specifications but Holden and Mazda fuel gauges are reportedly most affected by the high sulphur, spokeswoman for the companies, Lee Taylor, says.
"Customers with any concerns around the accuracy of their fuel gauge should ensure their gauges read above half and get their vehicle checked by their local vehicle dealer," she said.
Appropriate compensation could be paid to customers affected whose gauges were affected, she said.
The fuel companies first released a statement about the problem on New Year's Eve, while customers have taken to social media to complain.
One person posting on the Muriwai and Waimauku community Facebook page over the weekend said they ran out of petrol for the first time in 40 years after pumping fuel into their 2004 Mazda 6.
They said fuel the gauge still showed petrol in the car's tank, and when a tow truck driver came to their "rescue", he told them theirs' was the fourth car this had happened to in recent weeks.