Think you're paying too much at the pump? Perhaps you are – but not as much as those gassing up in Maine. No, the Pine Tree State doesn't have the highest gas prices in the land (that would still be Hawaii), but it does have a problem with out-of-spec gas pumps. According to state inspection officials, several stations have been found with multiple pumps delivering less fuel than customers are paying for, some of them so inaccurate that the agriculture department has had to order them immediately shut down.

Worse yet, the state lacks the resources to determine whether gas stations owners are purposefully shorting customers or these problems are just random occurrences. While officials say one out-of-spec pump that's not delivering enough fuel might be balanced by one that's flowing more freely than it should, recent inspections have discovered pumps operating up to seven times outside the allowable margin of error. Yet the state can't readily analyze the data it collects during inspections because of outdated computer systems – and a staff of only nine inspectors.

Maine politicians are understandably upset about the issue, but in these times of widespread deficits and budget slashing, it remains to be seen whether they will do anything about it. Of course, Maine is probably not unique in having an overworked weights and measures staff, so we wonder whether we might notice this issue popping up in other places around the country?


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  • 19 Comments
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      "...but in these times of widespread deficits and budget slashing, it remains to be seen whether they will do anything about it." Easy fix. $1,000 per day for every day found in violation. The problem will either 'fix itself' or the violators will fund the inspections. Next....
      Guntis Liepins
      • 3 Years Ago
      Outdated computer system ? WTF? I think I could organize team for such a task with an email and few spreadsheats of Excel '2000 or probably MS Access database. This task does not require specialized software application!
      Kumar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Check out this gem linked below. In Anderson Indiana, it was revealed in 2006 that their pumps hadn't been inspected for two years. They had one guy doing it, and he, well, didn't. http://www.wthr.com/story/6458343/pump-problems-part-two?redirected=true This summer in Indianapolis there were quite a few stations shut down due to watered down gas that was conveniently blamed on rain....yeah....it was the rain that did it wink wink.
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wonder if we've been short-cheated on lobster weights too!
      Zoom
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let's keep getting rid of regulations! Corporations will take care of us! :)
        xxxZOMBIExxx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Zoom
        Perhaps you should learn something about the government before you post. Regulations have increased EXPONTIALLY over the last 20 years. This issue is not a lack of regulation; it’s a stunning lack of enforcement of the current regulation. You can thank the government for that. ...and I find your post humorously ironic considering your avatar... Yep, keep hating the evil corporations EXECPT the ones that you like, right? LOL
      N Bluth
      • 3 Years Ago
      Don't worry, the invisible hand of the free market will (somehow) fix this.
        xxxZOMBIExxx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @N Bluth
        There is very little free market when it comes to fuel...you might want to do some research before you post.
      --RAfiKi-
      • 3 Years Ago
      its still a better deal than Connecticut that tells you how bad they are going to bend you over the barrel. Biggest rip off state. Funny how big of a line at the northernmost gas station in NJ is on the NJT to pack the tank full.
        Drew Z
        • 3 Years Ago
        @--RAfiKi-
        I agree. I live in Connecticut and we really get ripped at the pumps here. Our average price is $3.72 and over the border in Massachusetts it's $3.49. I wish I lived closer to MA so I could get cheaper gas (I live about 50 miles from the border) and tell Gov. Malloy to shove it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Dark Gnat
      • 3 Years Ago
      Next time you fill up, pause when you hit 10 gallons of gas and see if the price is right. Example: If gas is listed as $3.50, then you should be paying $35. It may not be 100% accurate, but most states allow a very slight margin of error. There should also be a sticker somewhere on the pump that says when the last inspection was done. If it's been a while, you might want to be careful. If it is off, report them!
      icerabbit
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes, this was local news for us yesterday. Still waiting to hear about which gas stations were in violation with half their pumps or all of them. That should be released publicly, imo. That way the consumers can avoid those stations for a while. If fines are insigficant, customers boycotting them will be an economic incentive and deterrant for others.
      tinted up
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ruh Roh... Maybe someone needs to invent a flow meter that attaches to the end of a gas hose and then goes into your filler spout so that you can monitor the gas flow as the pump meters it. GENIUS!!!111111
      Tom
      • 3 Years Ago
      With pumps of the type pictured, it could be fixed ... but what about more modern, computer-controlled pumps? In theory, couldn't the gas station run those to count more gas than is being delivered, then simply flip a switch and it would count correctly for the inspector?
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