Gas prices have almost tripled in the past 10 years. It’s no surprise drivers, pumping almost $4 per gallon, are paying attention more than ever before. That’s why calls and complaints to weights and measures offices are on the rise. But even though people feel they’re being ripped off, gas stations are more than likely just experiencing some maintenance issues.
So how do you spot pumps that are less than accurate? For some advice, I went to Michael Bannon, head of Bucks County’s Department of Consumer Protection/Weights and Measures.
1. When you pull up to the pump, make sure you can see the inspection stickers and that they’re not out-of-date.
2. Make sure the prices on the pumps match the prices on the signs.
3. Watch for something called “pump jump.” That’s when you pick up the handle and the amount owed sneaks up a few pennies before any gas has flowed.
4. “Creeping” happens when you stop pumping but the pump numbers keep moving, gas filling up the hose.
5. Get a receipt so you can compare the price on the sign with the price you actually paid.
6. Maybe the easiest way to check whether or not you’re getting what you paid for is to pump exactly 10 gallons. Obviously, the amount owed should read 10 times what the price per gallon is. If it doesn’t, report it to the weights and measures department listed on the pump. FYI: There are only three local counties that still have weights and measures offices: Bucks, Delaware and Northampton. Gas stations in other areas are inspected by the state.