By Sam Poe
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | 12:09 AM
Gas prices are finally falling, but have you already been getting less than you pay for?
Gas pumps across the State of Alabama are supposed to be inspected annually to ensure you are not overcharged or undercharged and that there is no water in the gas to cause engine problems in your car. However, since a major reduction of Department of Agriculture staff in 2010 that decreased the number of statewide inspectors from 23 to 5, many pumps around the state have not been checked annually, and some have not been checked since 2010.
How do you know when the pump was last inspected? It's rather easy to tell actually. There is a small sticker on the side of each pump that is shaped like the State of Alabama. Those stickers are color coded to tell you the year of the last inspection. Blue stickers mean the pumps were inspected in 2010. Green stickers are from 2011, and brown stickers are from 2012.
The state legislators passed new legislation last year, allowing registered service agents to inspect and report back to the Department of Agriculture. Then, the inspectors from the Department of Agriculture will be randomly checking behind the private companies to ensure inspections are being properly conducted. Once the inspection is completed, business owners can face fines ranging from $500 to $8,000 if their pumps do not comply with requirements.
Inspections will begin across the state next week. It will take approximately one year to inspect all pumps in Alabama, but then inspections will be completed annually as required by the law to ensure you are receiving the best quality product available.