Heads up, gas stations scamming the public

Yes, yes its the famous Beefy Norm again with some controversial advice. Certain gas stations in the south/east have been caught adjusting their fuel-cost ratio. What this means is that some stations are putting competetive prices on the signs and pumps but the fuel ratio has been adjusted to give less fuel. I’ve caught my local gas station doing this just this morning. Here is how to tell if your station is ripping you off - it is just simple math: Next time you go to the station to fill up, stop pumping at 10 gallons. The price registered on the pump and the price posted on the sign should only be off by decimal place value. For example if the listed price of a gallon is $3.89 then at 10 gallons your pump should be registering $38.90. Any overage in amount due is directly related to how many 10ths per gallon the station is ripping you off. For example, this morning my station charged me $43 for 10 gallons of gas - which means the real price for a gallon of gas at that station was really $4.30 a gallon. There have even been claims that an attendant was seen flipping a switch during peak hours - but, I don’t see how that would be related because that would be a big, obvious wireing job that would have to be monitored by authorities.

Try this out regardless of wheather you dislike the famous Beefy Norm or not. Its for your own good.

I think my son and I ran into this a couple of years ago actually. We were going to Wichita KS and stopped at a local small independent quick shop to gas up. We had patronized this place dozens of times in the past and the store had recently been purchased by an Asian family (one of 3 or 4 they bought).

As my son was putting the gas in and I was leaning against the car I glanced over at the pump and noted the gallons were not aligning with the price. I said something and my son cut the nozzle off. The gallons at that point came up to about 1 and 1/2 too few when compared to the price. A few hot words were exchanged with the person at the register and thought for a minute it was going to come to fistcuffs.

At least it was caught before the financial hit was too bad and we never entered that business again along with telling everyone about it.
Nothing surprises me.

actually this happened in staten island at the mobil station on forrest ave. west end. the owner got jail time.

the trick was they installed a switch in the cash register area which raised the voltage to the meter at the pump. it was only hooked up to one pump.

it was caught by the city weights and measures guy, as he went to fill up HIS car, on his day off. he had just reinstalled his fuel tank, and knew it was XX gallons, the bill came over three gallons too high so he knew something was wrong.

he came back the next day and did the measure and everythign was right on, then they put a hidden camera and you coudl actually see the attendant flipping the switch occasionally, stealing more $$ every other time or so.

Thanks for the heads-up, Norm!

I pulled into a Speedway once and put 31 gallons of diesel fuel in a 28 gallon tank. I raised mortal sand with the manager over it and got no where. Lesson learned, I won’t pull on the parking lot of a Speedway or Pilot Oil (common ownership).


Apparently in our state they inspectors(weighs & means) run around with a vehicle equipped with a flow meter and they spot check pumps all the time and especially after a complaint.

they do that in all states, but when the dealer puts a switch in to randomly do it, it is hard to catch.

A couple of things.

First…don’t be too haste to say a gas station is crooked because it says you pumped 11 gallons into a 10 gallon tank. Temperature can greatly effect this. Our local TV station did a segment on this a few months ago. One woman had the exact same problem…she pumped 19 gallons into a 18 gallon tank. She called the state inspectors and they were there within hours…The inspectors found the same results…BUT they then checked the temperature of the gas and made a calculation adjustment and it came out correct.

AS for what Norm is seeing…that’s just crooks. And I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to have a switch like the one POSSIBLY being used…even if the attendant doesn’t use it.

But gas stations being crooked is nothing new…although I hope it’s not very widespread. When I find one (which is rare) I NEVER visit them again…and make sure everyone I know knows about them. I also call the state inspectors and maybe they can do something about it. At least maybe keep the station honest for a little while.

Excellent advice, Norm. I’m paranoid enough that I’ve done this for years. I watch as the volume gauge passes 10 gallons to see what the approximate price is. It hasn’t been off yet, though stopping the pump is more exact.

Did you notify the authorities (state inspector)?

Make sure your government authorities know about it.  Where I am they do un-announced checks regularly.  They are serious about it.  Not every authority is as vigilant.  If your's is not, time to get politically active locally.  I suspect it would not be difficult to get a lot of support with today's public opinions on fuel prices.

Notify your state weights and measures department. They will have an unmarked car with a calibrated gas tank to check that pumps record the actual correct amount and charge the advertised price. If they think someone is cheating, they will check them out closely.