These are the people who check Cuyahoga County's gas pumps for skimmers -- roughly 8,000 of them

Weights and Measures inspectors Checking Gas tanks (Source: WOIO)
Weights and Measures inspectors Checking Gas tanks (Source: WOIO)

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Inspectors for Cuyahoga County's Weights and Measures Division are in charge of checking the 8,000 gas pumps at nearly 300 gas stations in the county, making sure they function properly and consumers are getting what they pay for.

Cleveland 19 watched as inspectors performed an inspection on a pump Friday in Garfield Heights. Inspectors first checked to see if any of the large tanks underground at the gas station had any water in them. Inspector Shaun Bland said that tanks are usually allowed to have about one inch of water in the bottom of a tank without it affecting the quality of gas a station provides.

The station inspectors tested Friday had no water in any of the gas tanks.

The next step was to open individual pumps and check to make sure there isn't gas pooling at the bottom of the pump. They also check for credit card skimmers.

Bland told Cleveland 19 that their department encourages individual gas stations to check pumps frequently to make sure that there aren’t any skimmers inside the pump, and that the pump hasn’t been tampered with. He said that individual stations have started putting security seals on pumps to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.
“If you see (the seal’s) broken and you're hesitant to use (the pump), move on to the next pump, notify the attendant in the inside, and they will come out and look at the pump and open it up and verify for themselves that there's nothing there,” said Bland. 
Another huge responsibility, the inspectors make sure that every pump, for every grade of gas, is calibrated correctly. That means inspectors pump five gallons of gas from each pump, and place it in a container that’s certified by the state to hold five gallons. Inspectors compare the two, and make sure that the pump is correctly dispenses the correct amount of gas.
If the pump passes the test, inspectors place a county seal on it.
Consumers can check to make sure that the seal is recent, and has the most current county executive, Armond Budish, named on it. Inspectors said if the seal is old, or from someplace out of Cuyahoga County, to contact their office. 
Cleveland 19 also asked Bland about several common things people may have hear about gas stations and filling up gas tanks. 
  • Is there a best time to fill up your gas tank?  Bland said there isn’t much of a difference depending on the time of day since gas tanks are well below ground and the temperature is consistent.
  • Is it bad to fill up when a gas station is getting fuel? Bland said that’s probably a good rule of thumb. He likened the gas tanks below ground as a bottle of Italian salad dressing – saying any sediment in the tank may be stirred up when a gas station’s tank gets refueled -- and that sediment could then go into your car. 
  • What if I get more gas in my tank than the manual says it holds? Does that mean I’ve been ripped off? Not necessarily, said Bland, he said that the capacity of a gas tank doesn’t factor in things like the “plumbing” or the various hoses form the point where the fuel enters the car to the gas tank.  Many times a gas tank can hold a little bit more than the manual says it holds. 

Anyone with a concern about a gas station or specific pump can contact the Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Weights and Measures at 216-443-7035 or consumeraffairs.cuyahogacounty.us. Inspectors said they try to respond to each complaint within 24 hours. If they find a problem with a specific pump, usually inspectors give the station 14 days to fix it -- unless the pump is shorting customers, then inspectors said they will immediately shut the pump down until it's fixed.

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