LAS VEGAS – The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) issued today the following news release about gas pump creep at a North Las Vegas gas station.
NDA has received multiple inquires from the news media about an online video of gas pump ‘creep’ at a gas station in North Las Vegas, in which a customer was being charged while no gas was being pumped.
“We have found that there was a problem with a pump on all fuel grades at the AM/PM Arco on North 5th Street in North Las Vegas,” said Bob Conrad, public information officer for NDA. “The device was red-tagged and placed out of service until repaired in accordance with the state’s standard gas pump inspection protocol.”
A red tag is for a device that is so far out of required tolerances that it needs an immediate repair. If there are any leaks or safety issues, a pump will always get red tagged. A blue tag is a standard service repair notice for pumps that are just out of tolerance but don't meet national requirements of +/-6 cubic inches.
The predominant cause of pumps being out of tolerance is normal wear and tear. NDA finds that most station owners quickly have pumps repaired to state tolerances regardless of the color of the tag because both blue and red tags mean a loss of income for the business.
Pumps that are tagged must be fixed to tolerance by a neutral third-party and are then reinspected by NDA before the tags are removed.
In this case, the station responded to the red tag while NDA inspectors were inspecting other devices that day. The station repaired the device, which was then tested, re-sealed and placed back in service. Random tests were completed on other pumps at the station, which all tested within national maintenance tolerances of +/- 6 cubic inches in a 5-gallon test measure.
There are 231 cubic inches in a gallon. In a 5-gallon test, +/- 6 cubic inches equates to one half of one percent. Many stations hire their own registered service agents to do regular calibration and maintenance on their pumps, in addition to the state inspections, and even tighten the tolerances to +/- 2 cubic inches.
“We are glad the issue was brought to the department’s attention,” Conrad said. “This is how the process is meant to work — if we are made aware of an issue with a pump, we will go out and inspect it to see if we can verify the complaint. In this case, we did, and the device is now back in service after being repaired.
“The state strives to inspect each gas pump annually,” he added. “Station owners know we are coming, but they don’t know when. While mechanical problems occur from normal wear and tear, the rate of over pumping and under pumping is about 50/50 when we do find pumps out of tolerance.”
Consumers with concerns about gas pumps may file complaints directly with NDA by calling, in the Las Vegas area, 702-668-4546 or by filling out this online form: http://agri.nv.gov/Protection/Petroleum_Technology/Petroleum_Complaint_Form/.
Complaints received directly to NDA from consumers are elevated to a number one priority, Conrad added.