Gas Pump Inspections Help Protect Consumers

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 21:25:06-04

More than 93,000 fuel pumps are inspected throughout Tennessee every year to make sure drivers get what they pay for at the pump.

Inspectors from the Department of Weights and Measures, a department within the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, show up unannounced at gas stations to complete inspections at random pumps. 

"Anything that's sold by measure, we check," said David Hardin, a supervisor for the Middle Tennessee region of the Department of Weights and Measures. 

There are 23 inspectors in the state, and they have been tasked with checking scales at grocery stores, making sure prices match, as well as checking fuel pumps on the inside and out. 

The inspections make sure the pumps have all safety measures in place they're required to have, and they also make sure that drivers are getting what they pay for at the pump. 

"It's equity in the marketplace," Hardin said. 

According to the Department of Agriculture, it's actually more common for a gas station to give drivers more gas than what they pay for, rather than the other way around.

Most gas pumps pass inspections year in and year out with no issues, and Hardin said it's extremely rare to find a gas station that tries to cheat the system. 

"If you get caught cheating, it's pretty much the end of your business," Hardin explained. 

Even with that being true, the department gets calls from drivers saying they think they've been cheated at the pump or that there is a problem at a gas station.

When that happens, an inspector responds to the station, often on the same day of the complaint, to make sure everything is operating as it should, adding a sticker of approval to the pump that is prominently displayed. 

According to the Department of Agriculture, the most common discrepancy at the pump is having labels that are difficult to read due to the sun fading the labels. 

If you want to contact the Department of Weights and Measures with a complaint about a gas station or a specific pump, you can call 1-800-628-2631 or 615-837-5109.