Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
Kimberly Ricketts, Director
For Immediate Release: Press Contact:
August 31, 2005
Jeff Lamm, Genene Morris 973-504-6327
N.J. Stepping Up Gas Station Inspections As Pump Prices Rise
NEWARK — As directed today by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey, the state, county and municipal Weights and Measures offices are coordinating and increasing their monitoring and inspection of gas stations to ensure all consumer protection laws are being followed.
"Gas prices are rising as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina," Acting Governor Codey said. "While that may be unavoidable, the State is taking the actions it can to ensure that gas stations are operating within the law. We will not tolerate gas station owners who try to take advantage and scam motorists. We will seek the maximum penalties against those who try to rip off drivers."
The New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures will cite two Atlantic City gas stations for selling super unleaded gasoline that did not meet the minimum 93 octane rating displayed on the pumps following a random inspection last week, Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts announced.
During a random inspection last Friday, the super unleaded gas being sold at the Getty station on Route 30 was found to have an 89-octane rating. The Lukoil station on Route 30 also was inspected and found to be selling super unleaded with an 91.4-octane rating.
Both gas stations received new gasoline over the weekend. Upon reinspection, the super unleaded at both stations met the minimum 93-octane rating for super unleaded.
The owners of the Getty and Lukoil stations each face a $250 to $1,000 penalty under state regulations. Subsequent violations carry a $1,000 to $5,000 penalty, with jail time possible as well.
"We consistently protect consumers’ pocketbooks, especially for goods and services that are essential to our lives. Bad gas is a defective product that can cause major damage to engines. With replacement engines costing thousands of dollars, deceiving consumers by selling low-octane gasoline is both costly and dangerous," Attorney General Harvey said.
In addition to the quality of gasoline, Director Ricketts noted that a gas station is allowed to change its prices only once per day under state regulations.
"We want motorists to know what they should look for to avoid being scammed and to report alleged violations to the State or their local Weights and Measures office. "At Acting Governor Codey’s instruction, Weights and Measures inspectors will be on increased lookout themselves in addition to checking out complaints from consumers."
Ricketts noted that motorists can take the following actions when purchasing gasoline:
• Check that the per-gallon price displayed on the roadside sign matches the per-gallon price setting on the pump;
• Look for the blue Weights and Measures sticker on the gas pump, which verifies that the pump has been inspected annually as required and found to be in proper working order.
• Make sure that the price display on the gas pump is set to zero before the attendant starts the pump; and
• Verify the price that the attendant tells you to pay by checking the display on the pump.
The State Office of Weights and Measures, located in Avenel, can be contacted at 732-815-4840. The list of municipal and county Offices of Weights and Measures is below, along with contact telephone numbers:
Atlantic County, (609) 345-6700
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