MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
- As gas prices continue to climb, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes advises motorists to make sure they are getting what they pay for at the pump.
The Mercer County Office of Weights and Measures performs annual random inspections of gas stations across the County to ensure that station owners and attendants are adhering to consumer protection laws, and also responds to consumer complaints, which tend to rise during a gas price surge.
The average price for regular grade gasoline in the Trenton area was $3.62 per gallon on Feb. 27, up about 24 cents from a month earlier, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
“It’s important that consumers be vigilant when they’re at the pump to ensure they’re getting exactly what they pay for,” Hughes said. “If you suspect a violation, and cannot resolve the problem with the station manager or owner, report it to our Weights and Measures office.”
Hughes said motorists can help themselves by:
- Making sure the price advertised on street signs and pump signs is the same as the price shown on the pump itself;
- Looking for the blue decal indicating that the gas pump has been inspected by the Office of Weights and Measures and is in proper working order;
- Making sure the attendant has reset the price display to zero before filling your tank;
- Checking that the total number of gallons you received corresponds with the total price you have been charged;
- Checking that the number of gallons, the price per gallon and the total amount of the sale are printed on any credit card receipts, and always check your receipt against your credit card statement.
Each year, the Mercer County Office of Weights and Measures randomly inspects all gas stations in 12 of the county’s 13 municipalities — Trenton has its own weights and measures department — to ensure that all gas meters are registered by the state; ensure that pricing is consistent between advertised prices and actual cost of gas; ensure that meters are not concealed to consumers and that hoses do not leak; conduct volumetric testing to prevent excess water in storage tanks; conduct octane testing to ensure octane ratings are accurate; ensure that all meters read accurately, start at zero and finish charging when gas stops pumping.
Inspections also help to ensure that merchants do not raise prices more than once in a 24-hour period, which is illegal. Any station caught in violation of these measures will be fined by Mercer County and ordered to stop selling gasoline until corrective action has been completed, Hughes said.
Residents are asked to call (609) 989-6579 to report suspected violations at gas stations.