Getting Your Gallon

By: Kieran Wilson Email
By: Kieran Wilson Email

It can cost anywhere from fifty to one hundred dollars to fill up these days.
The price of gas is on the rise and relief no where in sight, so how do you know whether you are getting your money's worth?

In this special report, 11-News followed a state inspector to find out if you are really getting a gallon of gas at the pump.

Clifford Elrod manages a truck driver training service, a business that is becoming less profitable as diesel prices continue to climb. Elrod says he spends close to $3,000 dollars a week on diesel. He has a fleet of five trucks, each holding anywhere from 200 to 400 gallons and he wants to be sure that his pump is to the penny.

Jim Fine is one of 11 inspectors for the Division of Oil and Public Safety, or OPS. Fine checks the accuracy of pumps all over the Western Slope.
First he opens the pump and checks to see if the state seal is intact, one indicator that the pump may have been tampered with. Then he fills up five gallon tanks with each grade of gas to see how they measure out, and he says the pumps are “very accurate.”

The inspection allows for plus or minus six cubic inches, a little less than a table spoon. Fine says, "you are going to find them to the customers favor for the most part." Of the six pumps checked four actually pumped more gas than what the pump says.

Clifford Elrod says he's still not convinced he's getting his money worth.
Elrod says he's heard of gas stations trying to pull one over on consumers, "what a lot of the companies used to do is water the diesel fuel down."
He says he's heard of stations filling 10,000 gallon tanks with ninety percent diesel and ten percent water. OPS does check the tanks for water, they put water paste on a stick and dunk it in the tank for ten seconds. If water is found in the tank, the paste would turn purple, and if that happens the tanks will be shut down and further action will be taken.

If everything checks out a sticker will be put on the tank with the date of the inspection and the inspectors signature.

If you are having a problem at the pump you are encouraged to call the OPS office at (303) 318 5800 and they say they will send an inspector out immediately. You can also visit its website at http://oil.cdle.state.co.us/


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