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At the Gas Pump

Get What You Pay For


At the Gas Pump
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Most of us in the Phoenix area have at least one car. Filling the tank with gas is just one of those chores that we don't think too much about. Still, when buying gasoline there are some things you can do to be a smart consumer. According the the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, about 2 billion gallons of gasoline is pumped every year. Here's how you can make sure that you get what you pay for!

Times 10 Rule

Make sure that you are being charged the correct per gallon price by remembering the Times 10 Rule. Stop the flow of gasoline at exactly 10 gallons. Move the decimal point of the total price one place to the right. The total price you pay should be the same as the per gallon price. Here's an example:

The pump or sign says that the gas is $1.39 per gallon. For 10 gallons, you should pay $13.90 ($1.39 and then move the decimal point one place to the right). When you pump the gas and stop at 10 gallons, the display on the pump should say $13.90.

Don't Top Off

Gas nozzles are equipped with an automatic shut off valve. When you are filling your tank and the automatic shut off valve activates, the extra gas you are trying to put in your gas tank may actually be returning to the gas station's underground storage tank and NOT in your vehicle. Topping off your tank can also block the vapor line which may create problems for the next customer. Finally, topping off your gas tank isn't good for the environment.

Remember Your Receipt

If you use a debit or a credit card for your purchase make sure you are charged the correct amount before you leave, and then take your receipt with you.

Car Manual Estimations

Keep in mind that the gas tank capacity that is stated in your vehicle owner's manual is only an estimation. Your gas tank may actually hold slightly more or slightly less than the stated capacity.

If you are concerned that you are not being charged properly at a gas station, or that the gas pumps are not working properly, you are encouraged to contact the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures. Please have the following information handy when calling the Department:

  • Name of gas station
  • Address of gas station
  • Pump number at which incident occurred

You can contact the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures at 602-255-5211, or 1-800-277-6675.

Special thanks to the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, who provided these tips. Reprinted with permission.

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