One Out Of Five Gas Stations In Memphis Have Faulty Pumps

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(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.


  • Hard Truths

    Article needs to publish the names and addresses of ALL the culprits.

    They can afford the business it will cost them — from what they have stolen already from the public.

  • MikeBarret

    So how many of the pumps were dispensing TOO MUCH gas instead of too little? Yeah just what I figured, what a coincidence.

    • langor1

      My thought also Mike. If the pumps are truly failing then I’d expect to see as many dispensing too much gas as do too little.



  • Bill

    The City got rid of incompetent employees, we were losing anyway. When I’m elected Mayor of Memphis a whole lot of things will be cut. 10% cut in City payroll my first year and I won’t touch Police or Fire.

  • Rick Mannon

    not to take away from the seriousness of this news article but as this City eliminates services to it’s citizen taxpayers, such as the one in this article; cutting back on fire, police, schools, not paying their debt & not honoring signed agreements with their employees. Once this City eliminates ALL city services, my question is where are those that should be policing Memphis’ elected leadership? Nashville, you have an answer, instead of a blind eye? With taxes rising & being collected by hook & crook the City’s funds should be overflowing but the City sez it is broke! “WHERE’S THE BEEF!” “WHO’S POCKET IS OUR TAX DOLLARS GOING INTO?” What a sick bunch of electeds we have locally & on the national level! Let your voice be heard!

    • Bill

      I won’t cut services, I’ll cut payroll in every Department except Police and Fire. I’ll outsource sanitaiton. All 100K+ jobs will be reduced to 80K and no one making 50K or less will take any cut at all.

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