The cost of filling the hose?

I had something weird happen this morning. I was trying to get gas, swiped my card, selected the grade of gas, and boom! I had 12 cents worth of gas register. I’d not started the pump at all. The clerk was nearby, so I grabbed him and he said that’s the cost of filling the hose. Ahem…bullhonky. Because that hose was just as full when I started as it would be when I’m done. I’d really rather pay for the gas that goes into my vehicle, not what stays in the hose. So. Is this a new trend? A scam, like it feels? Or are they just more transparent with a common practice shared by all stations?

Depending on the valve in the nozzle,
YOU can empty that same amount from the same hose after you stop pumping…just like the customer before you apparently did.

That does NOT normally happen …unless…the previous customer had emptied the hose after shut off.

Here’s a situation I have encountered a couple of times this summer. I took my 2 gallon (new) gas container to get it filled for my riding mower. I only got about a gallon and a half. The attendant seemed kind of miffed when I pointed it out to her. 2 weeks later the same thing happened so I scratched that station off my list. I filled the can up again at 2 different station and I got my full 2 gallons.

I then decided to call the Ky Department of Agriculture and they gave me the runaround. I finally got someone on the phone who sounded somewhat intelligent so I explained the situation. I also stated that I was taking my video camera to the suspect station and planned to upload the whole event to You Tube. Their demeanor suddenly changed and they scheduled a new inspection for the next day. I am happy to report that that station now gives 2 gallons when you pay for 2 gallons. I have a feeling that hundreds of thousands of gas pumps are still gypping the consumer on a daily basis. This is in addition to the normal price gouging that has been around forever.

If 1.5 gallons filled your 2 gallon container, and you only paid for 1.5 gallons, then you should have kept your mouth shut and filled up all your vehicles there…

Most gas pump nozzles will not allow any flow when there is no pressure on the hose. Draining the hose is impossible. But a determined customer or a defective nozzle may have allowed the hose to be drained and you paid to refill it…

Your state probably has an agency that is supposed to make sure the pumps are calibrated properly and that they don’t cheat people. Here in Florida, I think is the Agriculture Commissioner. Report what happened.


Did you pay for 1.5 gallons of fuel and get 2 gallons, or did you prepay for 2 gallons of gas and end up with only 1.5 gallons? If yours was the first scenario, you ruined a good thing.

He probably pre-paid for 2 gallons and only got 1.5 gallons.

Life can be miserable if you sweat the small stuff, @CGChick. Like @BillyC said, the previous customer pre-paid their purchase and when the pump shut off they continued to hold the valve open allowing the hose to partially empty. If that happened once a month it would be unusual and cost you $1.80 per year.

Many years ago as I returned home on my motorcycle after midnight the engine sputtered and I switched to the reserve and realized that a quart of fuel wouldn’t get me home and all the filling stations were closed but I stopped at every station along the way and milked the hoses and got home with gas to spare. At 20c, per gallon the theft was minor and likely no one even paid attention.

What Missleman meant was he paid for two gallons and only received 1.5 gallons. Why else would he be upset?

I think you should have been refunded that 12 cents. That is, if your gas pumps work like the ones here. Here, the shut-off occurs at the nozzle end. Not back at the pump. There’s no way to drain the hose of gas remaining, once the pump turns off. So the hose is always full. Somehow in your case air must have gotten into the hose, maybe during a switch to a different underground tank that occurred prior to you arriving there. I think what happened, when you enabled the pump, it sensed there was room to pump, so it automatically filled the hose first.

He might be upset because he mistakenly misunderstood the situation. I’m pretty sure Missleman can speak for himself, so I find it interesting that everyone else seems to know his intent.

I remember looking into this awhile back for something similar. I recall it was attributed to the check valve. I just went searching again and found this -

Read down a ways to get to the part about erratic operation and charges when the pump starts. Might be a case where the pump is actually pressurizing the hose as soon as its ready to dispense. Your pulling the trigger just releases the gas. Bad check valve and the gas retreats after each use. So the attendant may not have been so far off after all.

It took me a while but I assume the pump said two gallons but the gas can only had a gallon and a half in it. Pumps do go out of calibration. In Minnesota its the Weights and Measures Division out of Commerce. Pumps are checked once a year or after a complaint. The cerification stickers are on the pumps so you can see when they were inspected. They also check scales etc. There is a plus or minus factor that escapes me now but you are pretty assured of getting what you pay for here.

Most people wouldn’t bend over to pick up a dime… If half an hour of complaining and another hakl hour of waiting while a clerk jumps through hoops making entries on a keyboard to justify a customer satisfaction refund of 12c seems worthwhile to some I am amazed. The pilfering by banks is much more $ignificant but gets little attention.

Rod Knox has summed up my reaction precisely.
If 12 cents is a significant issue for the OP, then I have to wonder about her ability to pay for car insurance, or for maintenance & repairs to her vehicle.

Yes, an incident like this is annoying, but devoting more than a couple of seconds to try to resolve it is just not cost-effective.

If this happened to me, I would simply resolve to do either of the following:

Switch gas stations, if that is convenient
See if it happens again at that station, and if it does, then file a complaint with the Bureau of Weights & Measures, or whatever agency regulates these things in her state.

Is the $0.12 really the issue? The real issue is one of principle. The real issue is that dozens, perhaps hundreds of people each day were being ripped off, and someone should put a stop to it.

Just to clarify…I paid for 2 gallons of gasoline and the pump only delivered 1.5 gallons. In this part of the country…all fuel sales are prepaid since I never use a card when buying gas. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway since the pump show 2 gallons delivered but I only received 1.5 gallons.

Thank you for clarifying.

Missileman has done a public service for his fellow Kentuckians by pointing out a station that was clearly cheating their customers on a regular basis. On the other hand, I am not yet convinced that the “12 cent scandal” was anything of significance.


Is it possible that the gas can is nominally rated to hold 2gallons, but has larger actual interior dimensions? As buffer space to accomodate thermal expansion and what have you.

I have a 5 gal can that I can always squeeze an excess .1 or .2 into, maybe more if absloutely necessary.