Inspectors Test Gas Pumps to Ensure Accuracy

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Gas prices may be on the way down but if you're like most people you want to know every drop of gas you pump ends up in your gas tank. 
"We want to make sure the consumer is getting his money's worth," Clay Stanford, an inspector for the Texas Department of Agriculture, said.

Inspectors like Stanford, inspect gas stations across the state at least once every four years. Stanford uses a five gallon steel drum to test the pump for accuracy.

"We're right at zero, so were in great shape," he said, pointing to a line on the can, "We have a sight glass to tell us just exactly how close that meter is to being right on the money."

If the pump dispenses more or less than about 1/4 cup, the gas station can face penalties.

"It helps us keep our pumps in calibration," Sam Gonzalez, General Manager of Premier Parking in Midland, said.

Gonzales says he fixed a pump after a State inspector found it was short measuring customers by twice the limit. Gonzales says he paid a $500 dollar penalty for the problem and hundreds more to get it fixed.

"I got it fixed, but it continues to act up, so I've taken it out of service," Gonzalez said.

Premier Parking sells a modest 20,000 gallons a month, but Gonzalez says making sure the pumps are accurate is important for the company's reputation.

"I really get furious because that could be me on the other side," Gonzalez said. "When people leave us their car they're entrusting us with one of their major assets."

Stanford says the inspection also helps make sure the gas station's he inspects aren't giving away gas.

"He could be getting shortchanged himself," Stanford said.

To make a complaint about a pump, you can call 1-800-TELL-TDA.