CLEVELAND - Summer is driving season as you hit the road for vacations and family fun. How do you know when you fill up if you're getting the actual gallons it says on the pump?
We found people whose sole job is to look out for you.
During a recent visit to a local gas station, we ran into Mike Russo from Cleveland. “We gotta run the weed whackers, mowers, everything and it can get expensive. And every dollar counts, you know?" Russo told us. He works for Eli's Landscaping.
He, like many other people, has wondered the same thing when they pull up to the pump. "Is there a way to tell if you're actually getting what you pay for?" he asked.
In fact, there is. Inspectors with the Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs Department are closely checking more than 7,000 gasoline pumps this season.
They’re filling up their calibrated tanks and examining many things including “jumping.” That’s when charges pop up on the screen before any actual gas comes out. "[The counter] kicks to zero and it's got to stay there,” said one of the inspectors. “Sometimes they'll roll. When that happens, we fail them," he told us during their testing.
County leaders reported to NewsChannel5 that in the past they have had to shut down several pumps at a single gas station. The owners then have two weeks to get them fixed. "Have a service come in and recalibrate (the pumps) and call us when they're done and we come out and will retest and at that point we will seal them," explained Cynthia Sich who is the Director of the Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs Department.
A stickered seal lets you know the pump has been officially checked. If you do have problems, call the number on the seal. Pay attention to the gas station location, which numbered pump it is and what octane you bought.
"Those few people that do cheat people gives it a bad name,” said Afif Maroun who owns a Marathon station in Moreland Hills. He has not had problems with his pumps, but he knows when county inspectors overall find about 10 percent of pumps with some sort of issue that can hurt consumer confidence. "With the gas prices as high as it is, every penny counts," he told us. "I don't want to be giving away gas but yet I don't want to be shorting anybody,” Maroun added.
That's why county leaders said you should be careful around islands where inspectors are testing pumps. That way they can pour over the precise tests safely and protect business owners plus customers like Russo. “Just make sure that everyone is staying honest and...hold everybody accountable,” said Russo.
On Your Side Advice: When you put the nozzle into your car and select the octane, take a look at the pump screen to make sure it says zero before you starting putting gas in.
Also, in addition to the phone number on the seal, you can file a complaint through the county's website. Here’s the link to the Cuyahoga County Complaint form.