Frost Group, the quoted petrol retailer, yesterday issued a writ for damages against the Retail Motor Industry Federation in a row over claims that its fuel can damage car engines.
The federation had said that a new petrol, to be sold through many of Frost's 1,250 Save outlets, may be bad for engines, a claim supported by Rover Group and Shell.
James Frost, chairman of Frost Group, the fifth largest petrol retailer in the UK, said the RMI had failed to provide satisfactory evidence to back its claim. "The RMI issued a press release making these claims, which was followed up by the media throughout the country. It is not yet possible to assess the damage," Mr Frost said. The writ does not put a figure on the claim for damages.
Frost's new lead-free petrol includes an additive that makes it suitable for cars using leaded four-star fuel. Frost said the petrol gives the same performance as leaded four-star.
The RMI had reported Frost to the trading standards department, urging prosecution if the petrol was not suitable. The organisation, which issued its press release last month, yesterday declined to comment.
Since coming to the stock market in 1991 with 80 service stations, Frost has grown rapidly, and in July paid pounds 83m for Burmah Castrol's petrol retail operation.