Local News

Jul 24, 2013 6:17 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Special Report: Extra Dollars at the Pump

CORPUS CHRISTI - Are you getting what you pay for at the pump? We took a look at state inspection reports for gas station violations that could be ripping you off. There are a number of things that could go wrong at with those machines, and that means you could be paying more, but getting less.

The Department of Agriculture does the state inspections. They use their tools to make sure the pumps work properly and actually dispense the amount of gas that they should.

For instance, they pump what the machine says is 5 gallons into a canister that measures whether or not it's actually 5 gallons.

They do these things well, but there's a catch, they only do routine inspections once every four years.

So, if you want to avoid mechanical issues costing you extra dollars at the pump, you have to let the state know, because they investigate every single complaint when it comes in.

We looked at those complaints, and in the last 14 months, one chain has had more problems than anyone else, Snappy Foods.

So, we talked to their owner.

At a stations in Ingelside and Robstown, some pumps malfunctioned, meaning customers weren't getting exactly what they paid for.

And at a station off Yorktown, the pump was "jumping" 71 cents. That means that every time someone squeezed the handle, they were charged 71 cents before a single drop of gas hit their tank.

The owner, Mo Taghi, told us the pump in Ingelside was hit by an 18 wheeler, and that's why it malfunctioned. As for Robstown, he says he dropped the ball on that one. The station off Yorktown was fixed after the state came in.

In fact, Taghi says all of their malfunctioning pumps have been fixed. The state won't let them operate until they are.

The state stressed that 95% of all pumps they check are compliant with their regulations.

They did add that they rely on customer complaints. They want to hear from you at home.

To file a complaint, contact the Texas Department of Agriculture at 1-800-835-5832.

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