Making sure a gallon is a gallon

July 7, 2008 4:37:56 PM PDT
With gasoline climbing above $4 a gallon, getting your money's worth is crucial, but what happens if you suspect that gallon you just pumped is not actually a gallon?Find cheap gas: Zip code search of gas prices

Whether you drive a Hummer or a Prius, the cost of gas has you counting every penny. Driver Lisa Maguire actually writes down her fuel usage.

"On every gas receipt I write miles per gallon, I keep track of every mile per gallon," she told us.

And when things do not add up, Maguire has gone back to the service station owner.

"There have been stations I have gone back to because my miles per gallon were that far off," Maguire said. "And they never questioned it and they ask how far it was off and they just hand the cash back."

When it comes to complaining about gas stations who give customers the short end of sale, Maguire is not alone. The Texas Department of Agriculture inspects gas stations to ensure they deliver the gallons you pay for.

I found out that since May of last year, nearly 2,000 people have complained about being cheated at gas stations. That's twice the number that complained the year before. Inspectors say a third of the consumer complaints lead to finding a problem at the pump.

It does not surprise Mark Rosenbaum.

"I have gone to some stations and it takes more to fill it up and obviously the gas tank has not changed," Rosenbaum said.

Before you pump your next gallon of gas you can check to see if your corner station is giving you your money's worth. There is a list of all the stations that were cited by the state for problems at the pump within the past two months. There are more than twenty Houston stations on the list. The site is maintained and updated by the Department of agriculture, but even the savviest of drivers do not know about it.

"I think too many people just trust the pump and with this day and age with gas prices they way that they are, it's easy to get cheated out of something," Maguire said.

The state has a toll free number for drivers who think a station may be shorting them at 1-800-TELL-TDA. We have a list of stations that have been cited by the state on The Consumer Blog.

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