Accurate measurement is important when you buy gasoline and motor fuel. A computer in the gasoline pump calculates what you owe based on the amount and the unit price of the gasoline.

When comparing prices, be sure to compare gasoline with the same octane rating. Usually, the higher the octane rating, the higher the price. Also check to be sure you are comparing the same unit of measurement. Is the price per gallon or per liter? (In the US, gallons are usually used.) 

Inspectors from the Consumer Department's Weights & Measures Division regularly check gasoline pumps for accuracy. In many areas, they also check gasoline storage tanks to be sure that stations are selling the octane level advertised. If violations are found, the seller can be fined and the product can be removed. Look for the Weights & Measures Seal on the pump.

Gasoline stations may offer a discount if you pay with cash instead of using a credit card. This "cash discount" is usually 2 to 8 cents per gallon off the regular price. On some pumps, you may be able to push a button to automatically show the discounted price. In some cases, the attendant must figure out the cash discount and deduct it from the price showing on the pump.

What You Can Do

  • Be sure that you or the attendant is using the correct pump. The octane rating and the price per gallon or liter should be clearly marked on each pump.
  • Be sure the pump is set to zero before any gasoline is pumped.
  • Check the price by multiplying the number of gallons or liters by the unit price. Be sure this shows the total due.
  • Figure the cash discount, if any. Check that you are charged the right amount.
  • If using a credit card, check the receipt to be sure the amount billed is the amount on the pump. Take your card and any carbon paper from the credit slip.

If you have a problem or question that is not resolved with the gas station, contact the County Department of Consumer Protection at (914) 995-2155.