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MDARD Director uses Williamston gas station to demonstrate consumer protection efforts at the pump

The Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell on Thursday showcased a local gas station in highlighting the state’s consumer protection efforts, and the critical role MDARD plays in ensuring Michigan motorists and truckers are getting both the quality and quantity of fuel they’re paying for at the pump.

Gary McDowell, MDARD Director

Speaking at the Marathon Gas and Wash in Williamston, McDowell said that as consumers continue to feel the pinch of skyrocketing fuel prices, he wanted them to know MDARD inspectors play a critical role in protecting motorists, truckers and their wallets at the gas pump.

“Our job will be to continue to ensure Michiganders can fill up with confidence knowing they’re getting every dollar worth,” said McDowell.

The agency said that while most gas station operators are delivering the proper quality and quantity of fuel, motorists can help increase their protection by making sure the price display on the pump is set to zero before the pump starts and verifying the sign on the roadway matches the price on the pump before fueling.  In addition, consumers should always request a receipt as a record of their purchase.

MDARD Inspector

“Michigan boasts a nearly 95 percent compliance rate on fuel pumps,” added McDowell. “The five percent non-compliance can be attributed to a variety of issues including display malfunction, or even providing too much fuel.  Less than one percent of devices fail for delivering too little fuel. MDARD works with our station owners and operators to help them get back into compliance.”

“Our retail members are in step with the motorist. We would rather see lower gas prices so the customer would have more money to spend inside the store,” said Ed Weglarz, president/CEO of the Midwest Independent Retailers Association. “Also, do not overfill your gas tank, nor run it below a quarter full. Overfilling can cause damage in the fill-pipe, while running near the bottom of the tank can cause damage to the fuel pump!”

“We share our customers concerns about high gas prices. We would much rather see lower prices as that’s better for our customers and allows them to have more money in their pockets to spend in our stores,” Mark A. Griffin, President Michigan Petroleum Association/Michigan Association of Convenience Stores. “We work hard to make sure our customers get exactly what they are paying for, and we look forward to continuing to be neighbors serving neighbors.” 

Consumers were also advised to improve their fuel economy by controlling the factors that burn more fuel.

Officials say the following steps will improve gas mileage, extend vehicle life, and make travel safer:

• Keep your engine tuned; maintain tires at the correct pressure; change the air filter regularly.

• Avoid aggressive driving – such as rapid acceleration and braking. It can lower fuel economy up to 33 percent on the highway and five percent around town. This can cost as much as $0.49 per gallon.

• Watch your speed – high speed creates more wind resistance. Every five-mph driven over 60 mph can cost an additional $0.10 per gallon.  

• Be aware that running electric accessories like an air conditioner can also reduce fuel economy by five to 25 percent.

The Motor Fuels Quality Hot Line, 800-MDA-FUEL or 800-632-3835, is used for reporting suspected adulteration of motor fuels or pump calibrations. It is posted on the pumps at every filling station in the state.

For additional information on MDARD’s Weights and Measures Program, visit www.michigan.gov/wminfo

For additional information on gas pricing visit one of the following Web sites www.michigan.gov/gasprices or www.michigan.gov/gasolinecorner.

Anyone with information regarding potential unfair gasoline pricing practices, is asked to call the Attorney General’s Office at 877-765-8388 or file a gasoline price gouging complaint online

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