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 Yet the state can't readily analyze the data it collects during inspections because of outdated computer systems – and a staff of only nine inspectors.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?