Do gasoline receipts have to show the cost per gallon?

September 17, 2011 01:29 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:   

I paid $4.099 per gallon for gas at this station today.  I paid $23 cash and received the correct amount of gas (5.611 gallons).  I asked a clerk for a copy of the receipt, but he said he could only give me a receipt that did not show the cost per gallon.  Is that allowed? 

Consumer Ed says: 

No, the price per gallon must be included on the receipt.  The Georgia Department of Agriculture issues and enforces regulations governing fuel sales in the state of Georgia.  The Department of Agriculture follows NIST Handbook 44, which requires fuel receipts to contain the following information:

  1. The total volume of the delivery (the total amount of fuel sold);
  2. The unit price (the price per gallon)
  3. The total computed price; 
  4. The product identity by name, symbol, abbreviation, or code number.

If a fuel provider fails to provide you with a receipt containing all of the information listed above, you may report the provider to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Fuel & Measures Division, at 404-656-3605.

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High Gas Prices: Is it Price Gouging?

March 10, 2011 17:50 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

At $3.65 per gallon, it seems like the gas stations are just using the situation overseas to make a higher profit at the expense of consumers.  Not to mention, just blocks away, another gas station is charging $0.20 less per gallon. I’ve heard that this isn’t price gouging, but that can’t be right, can it? And if it isn’t, what do people like me do to be able to afford gas?

Consumer Ed says:

What you’ve heard is correct. Georgia’s price gouging law is only activated during a declared state of emergency. And in order for gas prices to be covered, the Governor must specify fuel as one of the goods and services to which the “price gouging” law applies.  Since Georgia is not under a state of emergency, the gas station is not price gouging.

When there is no state of emergency, the free market allows gas stations to set their own prices. They do so based on various factors, such as supply and demand, the price of oil, transport costs, refinery problems, what the competition is charging, as well as the political happenings in the Middle East.

As a consumer, you can ease some of the pain of rising fuel prices by shopping around for the lowest price per gallon via websites such as gasbuddy.com and GasPriceWatch.com.

In addition, you can improve your fuel economy by following these tips*:

  • Slow down. According to the EPA, every five miles per hour you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents a gallon for gas.
  • Drive smoothly. Frequent starts and stops can reduce mileage by 2 to 3 miles per gallon, so avoid tailgating and slow your rate of acceleration from a stoplight.
  • Combine small trips. Half of all car trips are less than 6 miles. Since driving with a warm engine saves gas and limits engine wear, try to string your errands together.
  • Don’t be idle. Shut off the engine if you’ll be idling for more than 30 seconds.
  • Lighten your load. At highway speeds, more than half of the engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. If taking a trip, keep luggage inside the vehicle rather than strapping it to the roof. Remove unnecessary items, especially heavy ones, from your car and trunk so that your engine doesn’t have to work as hard.
  • Proper maintenance. Regular tune-ups, oil changes, replacement of air filters and keeping your tires properly inflated can all help improve your fuel economy.
  • Economy cars. If you’re buying a new car, consider a hybrid or other model that’s received high ratings in fuel economy.
  • Consider alternatives. Take public transportation or arrange to car pool. For short trips in your neighborhood, walk or ride a bicycle; you’ll save on gas and get a work-out!

 

*Source: Consumer Reports, Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy

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Gas station charging exorbitant prices

November 4, 2010 07:37 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

The gas station on the corner is charging 30 cents more per gallon than other places in the area.  Isn’t that price gouging?

Consumer Ed says:

Not unless there’s been a state of emergency declared by the Governor.  And even then, maybe not. Georgia’s price-gouging law only applies during a declared state of emergency. While the price gouging statute is in effect, gas stations may raise their prices, but only by the amount that their cost goes up when they receive a new shipment. For example, if a station’s overall costs for its fuel increases by thirty cents a gallon, then the station can raise its retail fuel prices thirty cents—but no more, or the station will be violating the Fair Business Practices Act. 

Remember – during a state of emergency, you may see a station charging more than other stations in the area, but that does not necessarily mean that the station is price-gouging.  The amount stations pay to buy gasoline can vary greatly.

Call the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-869-1123 if you are unsure of whether the price-gouging statute is currently in effect.  If it is, report any incidences that seem out of the ordinary (e.g., prices-per-gallon that rise by more than a third within a short period of time). 

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