Hundreds of gas pumps overcharge for gas, according to state report

16 June 2022

— With gas prices at record highs, you probably find yourself wishing the prices you pay at the pump were wrong — and it turns out that sometimes they are.

State inspectors tell WRAL’s 5 on Your Side that they are receiving more complaints of inaccurate gas pumps. Customers have been contacting the North Carolina Department of Agriculture telling officials that they are getting less fuel than what they pay for. The Department of Ag makes sure gas pumps are calibrated correctly and says the number of faulty gas pumps is on par with any other year.

“We want to make sure consumers don’t panic, because we are not seeing any kind of increase in overcharges right now,” explained Joseph M. Pitchford, the department’s public information officer. “It’s easy and understandable to get worried about overcharges when gas prices are soaring like this, but we want consumers to know that we are not experiencing a spike in errors.”

In May, 150 pumps in the state were labeled as “tagged.” A tagged machine means it’s overcharging or unsafe. Which, to put in context, is a fraction of the number of pumps in the state.

So far this year, seven pumps in Durham Co were tagged, 60 in Wake Co, 49 Johnston Co, and nine in Cumberland Co, a fraction of the number of pumps in each of those counties.

On WRAL-TV at 6: Gas scams. Are you actually getting what you paid for?

“Most of the time the dispensers are generally accurate,” said Hunter Hairr, an inspector for the state.

Hairr and fellow inspector Jody Desourdy test fuel output for accuracy, plus, they make sure prices are consistent and even check for skimmers, which can illegally obtain credit card information when you swipe.

The inspections are normally unannounced. Earlier this month Five On Your Side came along as they stopped at Cash & Carry in Youngsville, they passed their inspection.

Manager Teressa Woodlief told Five on Your Side that the visits are welcomed because they try to keep everything as it should be.

If you suspect a pump isn’t calibrated, you can call 984-236-4751.

A pump labeled ‘rejected’ means that the machine had some kind of problem that did not necessitate it being taken out of service, like a faded display that needs to be touched up. Machines marked ‘tagged’-either had an overcharging problem or presented some kind of safety risk and had to be taken offline. Pitchford says some of the pumps on the list may now be corrected.

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