Consumer alert: Gas pump inspections, which Memphis stations have been hit with fines?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Summer time brings increased temperatures outside and increased prices at the gas pump.

As of Thursday, AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was around $2.32.

So, how do consumers know they're getting their money's worth?

Whether it's bad gas or price concerns, WREG explains what drivers should do if they need to report problems at the pump.

It's Andy Dunn's job to look for the gas you wouldn't want to put in your car.

He's an inspector with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures.

Among many things, inspectors check gas pumps all across the state.

"We check every device, we take down every serial number," explained Dunn of the process in general and how inspectors keep track of the units.

WREG met Dunn during a routine visit, at a gas station that allowed our cameras on site.

However, Dunn is also the person who gets sent out when consumers call in complaints.

"It can be from like the prices, like not adding up right or leaking pumps," explained Dunn of the types of complaints the division receives.

Of course, one of the biggest complaints is bad gas, or contaminated fuel.

"We will go out immediately and check."

Records show nearly 70 complaints about gas stations around Memphis from 2013 through early 2017.

Not all of those were valid, but the WREG Investigators learned the state issued 81 civil penalties over the same period against gas stations in Shelby County.

The Rass Convenience Store in Raleigh was one of them.

In late 2015, News Channel 3 exposed complaints and prompted the state to investigate.

Our cameras rolled as they padlocked the pumps.

Rass paid a $500 fine.

See which gas stations paid fines across Shelby County

WREG found 10 gas stations that paid multiple fines.

The Q-Stop Grocery topped the list with five fines since 2013.

Stations with Multiple Fines

  • Alhalemi Market and Deli
  • Arlington Citgo
  • Bass Brothers
  • Circle K # 9813 (Collierville)
  • County Line Express
  • Express Gas
  • Exxon RCM
  • Q-Stop Grocery
  • Walnut Grove Market
  • Winchester Express

Dunn showed WREG several of the checks he makes at gas stations including checking for water in the fuel. He starts by checking the in ground tanks.

Dunn uses a long wooden stick that will change colors if water is detected in the fuel. The bottom will turn a bright pinkish-red.

Dunn also takes five gallon samples to send off for more testing.

Besides the fuel itself, Dunn checks prices and every part of the pump, even looking for skimmers.

"I want to make sure there's no objects that have been attached."

If there's an immediate problem at the pump Dunn red tags it with a stop sale sign.

Other issues get a notice of violation.

If you think you've gotten some bad fuel or have other concerns like price discrepancies, call 1-800-OCTANE1.

Click here for more information on how to file a fuel quality complaint.

List of area gas stations fined by year