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News from DCA - Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lydia Downing/Abigail Lootens
(212) 487-4283


DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ANNOUNCES 97 PERCENT COMPLIANCE RATE FOR CITY’S GAS PUMPS

City Inspectors Check More Than 10,000 Gas Pumps to Ensure Accurate Prices for New Yorkers

With gas prices 58 cents per gallon higher than this time last year1 and expected to continue rising into the spring and summer, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced a 97 percent compliance rate for the accuracy of the City’s gas pumps, which are inspected under the City’s and State’s Weights and Measures law. To ensure that New Yorkers are getting what they pay for, in the past year, DCA has performed more than 1,800 gas station inspections throughout the five boroughs, checking 10,850 individual gas pumps and condemning 345 of them. DCA’s gas squad inspects each gas station in the City at least once a year, and intensifies inspections during peak travel periods. Commissioner Mintz was joined by Ralph Bombardiere, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops.

“In the last year, DCA went out and inspected the accuracy of more than 10,000 gas pumps to ensure they were dispensing every drop of what was being advertised,” said Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “I’m pleased that gas stations across the five boroughs continue to meet our standards, and that the accuracy of their gas pump compliance remains quite high at 97 percent.”

“As an industry that complies with regulations of over a dozen government agencies, this near-perfect compliance rate demonstrates the integrity and reliability of gas station operators, and their deep commitment to their customers,” said Ralph Bombardiere, Executive Director of The New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, the area’s largest organization of gasoline retailers.  “In these difficult fiscal times, when gas prices are being driven by various political, economic and global factors, it is important to gas station operators – who provide jobs to local residents and support neighborhood organizations and programs – that their customers have complete confidence at the pump.”

To ensure that consumers get all the fuel they pay for at the pump, DCA inspectors check for:

  • pump dispensing accuracy
  • gas octane at levels advertised and priced
  • proper maintenance of gasoline storage tanks
  • properly marked fill ports for gas delivery
  • functioning equipment, including indicator lights, nozzles, air compressors, and valves
  • proper signage, including matching prices on pump and curb signs

Any gas pump that fails to dispense accurately or has mechanical irregularities is immediately condemned by DCA inspectors and must be fixed before it can be put back into service. Condemned pumps are also routed for follow-up inspections. This year, DCA condemned devices for a variety of reasons, including using nozzles that allow for “pump jump,” or a meter advancing without product leaving the nozzle; burned out indicators; anti-drain valves which cause pump creeping; and improper maintenance of station devices.

DCA also performs inspections based upon consumer complaints. Consumers can call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) or visit nyc.gov/consumers to file a complaint against a gas station.  In FY10, the Department received 645 complaints about gas stations. The most common concerns were overcharging, inaccurate meters and defective fuel pumps.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant marketplace for consumers and businesses, DCA licenses more than 71,000 businesses in 55 different industries. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses alike about their rights and responsibilities.  DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) is the first local government initiative in the nation with a mission to educate, empower, and protect New Yorkers with low incomes so they can build assets and make the most of their financial resources. Toward that end, OFE seeks to increase access to high-quality, low-cost financial education and counseling; improve access to income-boosting tax credits; connect households to safe and affordable banking and asset-building products and services; and enforce and improve consumer protections to enhance financial stability. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at nyc.gov/consumers.  Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook 
 
 


1AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. (2.23.11) Retrieved from http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/NYmetro.asp