State finds thousands of violations at AZ gas stations

The Department of Weights and Measures released its annual Gas Pump Report, finding thousands of violations that are shorting consumers.

Here's an official summary from the Department:

Test results taken between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 resulted in an 17.1 percent statewide non-compliance rate, up 3% from last year.

Overall, the Departments field investigators audited 1,823 gas stations having tested 27,838 individual nozzles and grades of fuel for accuracy at retail gas stations statewide.

A total of 4,761 gas pump violations were discovered during these unannounced inspections resulting in $352,700 in civil penalties being levied to station owners found in violation of Arizona State law.

"Arizona consumers buy more than 6.8 million gallons of gasoline each day and it is this agency's responsibility to ensure that consumers get what they pay for," stated Kevin Tyne, Director of Weights and Measures. "The gasoline industry must remain vigilant in their effort to maintain properly calibrated gasoline dispensers, unfortunately these results show the industry has more work to do."

Some of the major infractions found over the past year include:

· 254 cases where the gas pump was out of compliance and shut down for dispensing less fuel than was registered on the meter (thus shorting the consumer).

· 252 instances of "meter jump" in which the meter did not start at zero as mandated for all commercial devices,

·340 individual violations of "meter creep" in which the customer incurred charges without the gas pump dispensing any product (up from 269 violations found last year).

·489 cases of the price per gallon or total sale display not readable to the consumer.

·332 individual gasoline hoses found in such disrepair they were placed out of service.

Other smaller violations were also discovered and "notices to correct" were issued including non-compliance ranging from missing octane stickers, product identification labels on the dispenser, hoses and nozzles in need of service, or various safety related infractions. These non-detrimental violations are given 30 days to correct or are locked down and ultimately penalized.     

There was some good news for consumers as a significant number of dispensers were discovered actually giving away more fuel to the customers (735 such instances). Such infractions still need to be corrected by the station within 30 days.   

For the year, the Department received 914 consumer complaints regarding fueling dispensers of which 117 were found to be valid and were placed out of service and penalized.

"Historically Arizona consumers have always been the eyes and ears for our Department, people know their vehicles and if something seems awry, they will call us and we will respond," said Tyne.

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