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Inspectors On The Job Making Sure You Get Quality Gas

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GAS PRICES_3.17.11

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — High gas prices make drivers wonder: Am I getting what I pay for?

A state inspector tells Suzanne Collins he’s out at gas stations testing to be sure.

The state predicts Marylanders will pay about $600 or $700 more for gas this year. Some drivers are trying to conserve.

“Obviously I’m trying to preserve the gas I buy, I’m trying to drive a little slower and a little steadier, use cruise control a little more,” said Judy Sullivan, driver.

While gas prices are not regulated, the state does enforce the law on gas quality.

“We want to make sure the gas is not contaminated with water or some other product that would make your engine run roughly or not at all,” said Peter Franchot, Maryland Comptroller.

An inspector from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office tested octane levels at a Baltimore gas station Thursday, a surprise visit that takes place at least once a year.

“It tells me if the sample I pulled out from that pump meets the required grade from that nozzle,” said Patrick Dunkes, compliance inspector.

If the gas fails, the station can be forced to stop selling until the problem is fixed.

“If you think you’ve gotten bad gas, call the Comptroller’s Office. We will send an inspector out immediately to check it and make sure it’s not contaminated,” said Franchot.

During the last fiscal year, 3,000 gas stations were tested. Ninety-seven of them failed the quality test.

Here are some tips.  If you see a tanker filling up the fuel tank at the gas station, you may want to go somewhere else because it stirs up water in the tank and you may not get quality gas.  The comptroller also recommends visiting a station you trust.

Another state agency calibrates pumps so you get the amount paid for.  That state inspector also makes sure posted prices match the pump price.

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