Part of my job is to work with Weights and Measures-- both at the state level (Pennsylvania) and NIST. In Pennsylvania, as in many other states, Weights and Measures is involved with weight verification and traceability, package checking (from the consumer protection side of things), testing of commercial scales used in retail or sell-by-weight applications (ranging from jewelry, deli meats, airline baggage overweight fees, buy/sell all the way up to railroad track scales), volume verification in dispensing for commercial applications and certification (fuel oil, propane, firewood, gasoline), and also fuel quality/octane ratings.
Just to note: Weights and Measures enforcement programs are notoriously UNDERFUNDED and abandoned by state legislatures-- Maryland is one of the worst examples.
A sealer was on his way to Allentown based on a consumer complaint-- water in fuel-- but also they verify performance of delivery of fuel at the pumps.
So the obvious question is given the LARGE PRICE DISPARITY between the 'standard' 89 octane to 91 octane to the 93 octane we are all using in our Alfas, what assurance is there that when we are paying for 93 octane that we are actually getting what we are buying?
It's not chump change here...
-- They test octane ratings during the 'warm' months and overall find very few problems.
-- Most problems are mechanical issues with 'mix' pumps that proportion according to octane (Sunoco)
-- In the 'mix' pump application, the first gallon is usually what was dispensed to the previous customer (no issue with that other than to be aware of it)
-- Straight gas (NO ETHANOL) is not allowed to be dispensed using mix pumps-- must pump through straight from the storage tank. We have a few stations that dispense 'real' non-adultrated with Ethanol gas at a premium price.
-- Gas stations that dispense, say, 89 octane fuel but are charging as 93 octane (fraudulent behavior) will be and are prosecuted, but this is a rare occurance.
-- In New Jersey (not sure any other states) it is illegal to pump your own gas - FYI - but because the payment is processed electronically it would be hard to cheat.
- More information. Hope you find this informative.
Just to editorialize, ETHANOL is the biggest boondoggle regulation ever! Not only did it force up the price for corn products by simple supply-and-demand, it inhibits performance and reduces fuel mileage. Ridiculous and another case of 'goody goody' legislation having unintended consequences. And I am 'pro' agriculture at that.