It’s Gas Pump Season
By: Sheryl Harris, Director, Department of Consumer Affairs
You may see the county’s Weights and Measures inspectors at service stations when you gas up this summer. We’re there to make sure you get what you pay for at the pump.
Our team inspects pumps to make sure they’re working right. We’ll pump gas into a specially calibrated container, called a test measure, to make sure that the amount of gas dispensed matches the readout on the pump.
We’ll also check to make sure the screen on the pump is readable and accurate, so you know what you’ll owe, and we’ll make sure that signs advertising the price aren’t misleading.
The tests we use conform to standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Every three years, the state’s Division of Weights and Measures checks all our testing equipment to verify it’s accurate.
If we find the pumps are correct, our inspectors “seal” the device by placing lead wires inside to keep the pump from being tampered with. Then we place dated adhesive seals on the pump’s exterior so you know the pump is accurate
If a pump fails, we order it taken out of service until it’s fixed. In that case, we use the lead-wire seals to “lock up” the pump so it can’t be used until it’s repaired or replaced by a registered service technician. Once repairs are made, we go back to verify the pump is working accurately.
County inspectors check every gas pump in suburban Cuyahoga County. The City of Cleveland has a separate Weights and Measures jurisdiction that covers the city.
While we’re at gas stations, our inspectors place bright orange cones topped with neon flags around their work area. Sometimes, depending on how the station is configured, we’ll use a county truck to block a lane to protect our team as they work. We wear bright neon safety vests so we’re easier to spot as we work.
If you see our teams at a station, please drive slowly and carefully around our crews and our equipment.
And remember, it’s against the law to remove or tamper with our seals. They’re paid for by you.