Gas pump glitches may be cyphoning your wallet

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The sticker shock is only getting worse, but what if you're paying for gas you aren't getting?

You expect to get what you pay for. But when it comes to gas, a simple glitch may be what's guzzling up even more than you expect.

Prices have everybody fuming, but sit down for this one, you could be paying for nothing and you don't even know it.

With more than 7,000 gas pumps in Hawaii, about 14% don't pass the test. Pumps are only allowed to be off an ounce; about the size of a shot glass.

"If it's above or below that tolerance then we'll reject the pump based on delivery," said Bill Pierpont, Director of Hawaii Measurement Standards.

State investigators go out and check up on stations about every two years using things called provers, but it's up to stations to maintain their pumps.

Problems with piping or calibration might be to blame, but a common problem is meter jump or meter creep.

Meter jump is when you pick up the handle and before you even pump the meter has already rolled. Meter creep is when you're done pumping and your hands are off the handle, but the meter goes up a few cents.

"That's not cool," said Brent Kawamura.

"If it's something that needs to be checked that's going to help the situation out, I think the more often the better," said Darci Davis.

Registered service agents inspect, calibrate and repair pumps for the stations that hire them making sure everything is in working order. The state handles the complaints and like prices those are up too.

The best advice shop around and make sure your station has its seal of approval.

"You can always vote with your dollars, if you feel isn't maintaining their devices, don't buy," said Pierpont.

But mechanical malfunctions may also go in the favor of drivers by giving them more gas than what they pay for.

If you feel anything is off, talk to the station and if that doesn't work contact the state.