09/01/05 — Older gas pumps allowed to charge for half-gallons

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Older gas pumps allowed to charge for half-gallons

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Published in News on September 1, 2005 1:55 PM

RALEIGH - The increase in gas prices has caused a problem not seen in North Carolina since 1970s gas crisis - older, mechanical gas pumps cannot compute prices over $2.99 a gallon. With gas prices across the state quickly reaching the $3 mark, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today approved a temporary measure that allows gas stations with these pumps to compute the price of gas by the half-gallon.

This means that $3 worth of gas would ring up at the pump for $1.50, but the customer would be charged the full price of $3 at the cash register. The total gallons pumped will be correct as shown on the dispenser, but the total sale will be half of the recorded value.

The ruling is based on state Administrative Code 01 NCAC 38.0601. According to the rule, stations must have signage that clearly marks the full price of gas and an explanation that the price marked is the price of a half-gallon, not a total gallon.

The rule is only for mechanical pumps, not for the newer electronic models found in most urban areas. "We expect that probably 25 percent of pumps in the state are mechanical pumps," said Jerry Butler, who oversees gas pump inspections across the state. "In areas like Raleigh, there probably aren't many of these older pumps, but in more rural areas of the state, you may find as much as 75 percent of the pumps are mechanical."