One Out Of Five Gas Stations In Memphis Have Faulty Pumps

(Memphis) The budget battle may soon hit your wallet in a way you wouldn’t expect.

The city is eliminating its weights and measures department, so the state will take over.

“I expect to get as much as I pay for.”

But WREG uncovered you don’t always get what you pay for at the pump.

“It’s already a struggle and you are making it harder on us at the pump.”

After investigating the past two years of fuel records for the city of Memphis, we uncovered about 20 percent of the gas stations are shorting you at the pump.

“It kind of makes me mad because we pay too much for this gas.”

Take one Citgo station on Winchester. In 2012 when it was inspected, seven of its pumps were shorting customers.

“I kind of had the idea we was getting cheated.”

And at an Exxon on South Third Street, five pumps were short.

Inspectors cited an Easy Express in the 23000 block of Frayser for five pumps that didn’t give customers the gas they paid for.

“That makes me want to shop somewhere else.”

So we asked the manager about it.

He admitted to problems, but denied doing it on purpose.

“When they came here and they checked it and everything was not good. They closed the pumps,” he said.

Reporter: “So you weren’t intentionally trying to cheat people out of money?”

“No, not at all. I’m trying to keep customers happy, get more business, not to lose business.”

He says he spent $3,000 to fix the issues and the pump police say his pumps are running right on the money now.

“They just came last week and everything is good.”

But the way the pump patrol works is about to change.

Memphis decided to stop paying for its weights and measures department, because it was the only city in Tennessee with one.

“City has been offering Cadillac service through weights and measure, the rest of the state is doing well with a Buick.”

So the state and its team of inspectors will soon check Memphis pumps, too.

But unlike the city who checks every pump at the station, state inspectors only check one set of pumps.

If the state finds a problem with one or more sets of pumps, another set set is checked.

If the second set also reveals a problem, then inspectors test them all.

The state tests all diesel and kerosene pumps.

In 2012, inspectors found problems at about ten percent of stations in Shelby County. But the city and state both only found problems at about four percent of pumps.

“When we run into an issue like that, we red tag the pump or shut the pump down,” Danny Scott, one of the state inspectors, said.

He checks everything from the condition of gas pumps and hoses, to making sure the price on the pump matches the price advertised.

“Check for accuracy, making sure that you’re getting a gallon for a gallon.”

He points out stations with a history of problems or complaints can get more frequent visits from the pump police, but also says you never know if the station is intentionally shorting customers.

He says a lot of the time, it’s faulty machines.

“They are machines, they wear out.”

But whether it’s the city or state, the goal of each inspector is to make sure customers aren’t left feeling empty.

The city eliminated its weights and measures department last year as part of the budget process, but brought it back in a last-minute move.


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