Cheated at the pump?

Have you ever noticed when starting to refuel your car that it seems that the dollar amount jumps one to three cents (or more!) before any gas begins pumping? Imagine those few pennies multiplied by hundreds of customers per day; it starts to add up. There were about 1500 Michigan consumers last year that felt the same way. That's where Chris LeCompte, gas inspector for the State of Michigan, steps in.

His day consists of surprise visits to 2-3 gas stations per day to determine the accuracy of their pumps. He simply pumps until the pump reads 5 gallons and weighs the container. If it is off by more than .05% or .01 gallons on a 20-gallon fill up, the pump is "condemned for repair." Now, stations are still allowed to use those particular pumps in the interim, but upon reinspection, the test criteria for them are even more stringent. The majority of the time the pumps are working in the consumers favor, but inspectors have seen some off by as much as an additional .04% either way. If a pump is deemed to be operating excessively outside the set standards, it's shut down immediately.

Have there been scammers caught cheating? You bet. A Michigan station owner was convicted of short-selling customers to the tune of over $100,000 in a years time. The penalty? A $55,000 fine and 18 months probation. Will there be more? Not if Mr. LeCompte has his way.

[Source: Car and Driver]

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