Measurement Standards verifies a gallon of gas is really a gallon

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 3:30 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Filling a tank with gas these days seems like a necessary evil.

What would be worse, if paying for several gallons of gas didn’t necessarily mean getting the money’s worth. How does a customer know then when a gallon is really a gallon?

“We make sure that the quantity delivered is what you pay for,” says James Kellames, State Metrologist,

Kellames says his crews go to gas stations on unannounced visits to inspect and confirm tanks at gas stations to make sure they are accurate. Depending upon the number of pumps and grades of gas the process can take four hours to several days.

The truck pumps five gallons of gas into what’s called a Prover. The Weights and Measures inspector then looks to see if his five gallons matches the five gallons measured on the pump.

If it doesn’t?

“We would take that pump out of service and notify that owner that he has a pump or grade that is out of tolerance,” says Kellames. “Then a service agent would come and make the necessary repairs and re-calibrate it. Then we would come back and check it again to make sure it is within specifications,” says Kellames.

Kellames says these days it is virtually impossible to alter the gas pumps. That is one thing inspectors look for during their certification process.

Magenta tags were issued to stations who passed inspection in 2022. Another color tag will be issued for 2023 when a station passes examination.

In these days of high gas prices, the Division of Measurement Standards is getting more complaints from customers. Some think they aren’t getting the bang for their buck when it comes to an actual gallon of gas. Others believe the gas isn’t the grade posted--the Division looks into that too.

Kellams says they take the inquiries seriously. But he does add in most cases since all measurements aren’t perfect...the slight difference is typically in favor of the customer.

While the state Division of Measurement Standards can actually verify the measurement of a gallon of gas, one thing they want to emphasize is, they do not regulate the price of it.

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