May 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders joined with the County’s Weights and Measures Division to kick off its annual gas pump inspection program with a demonstration of the service, marking the start of the upcoming summer travel season.
“With the Memorial Day holiday marking the start of the serious travel season in New Jersey, we are highlighting this valuable consumer service and urging consumers to follow tips on how to save gas and protect yourself at the pump,” Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak said.
Hudak was joined by Public Safety Director Andrew Moran, Freeholder Vice Chairman Mohamed Jalloh, Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman, County Manager Alfred Faella, and personnel from the Weights and Measures Division. The event was held at the Shell Gas Station at the intersection of St. Georges and West Grand Avenues—a major travel artery that serves as a gateway to the Jersey Shore.
The Weights and Measures Division inspects all gas stations in the County, with the exception of the City of Elizabeth, which has its own program. The County inspects approximately 150 stations a year. The program finishes by the end of October.
Gas pumps may fail inspection for giving the incorrect amount of gas, having a leaky hose or for calculating the price incorrectly. Pumps that fail inspection cannot be used until they are repaired.
Once repaired, the pumps must undergo a reinspection from the County. The penalty can be $100 per count if a violation is not addressed. Last year, the County tested 3,010 pumps. Approximately 2,857 were correct and 153 were incorrect.
While at the pump, Hudak noted consumers should always get a receipt to protect themselves. Consumers are also urged to watch the transaction to ensure the price gauge has been reset, and the requested type of gas and correct amount are served.
Aside from retail gas pump accuracy, Hudak also noted that County drivers can take steps to ensure that they get the most out of their gas budget this summer.
According to studies, the gas savings from safe, moderate driving can be substantial. Some of the basics are:
- Observe the posted speed limit. Fuel efficiency drops greatly at higher speeds.
- Keep a safe following distance. Passing, weaving and tailgating all involve needless accelerating and braking, which wastes gas.
- Avoid jackrabbit starts. Accelerating gradually is more fuel efficient.
Idling is another major source of fuel waste. After just 15 seconds, an idling car uses more gas than shutting off the engine and restarting it. Idling for more than 3 minutes when not in traffic is also against the law in New Jersey because it affects local air quality, especially in school zones.
Keeping up with routine maintenance, especially oil changes and tire pressure, also results in significant savings.
Avoid “miracle” fuel additives and gadgets. The Federal Trade Commission has studied dozens of these products and concluded that none of them work. Some may cause engine damage or contribute to decreased fuel efficiency.
Union County has an ample stock of local recreation opportunities, which cuts the expense and hassle of travel down to a minimum.
“We have swimming, hiking, fishing, biking, boating, horseback riding, picnic areas, playgrounds with water features, free outdoor music and movies, nature programs and activities for children, and much more,” said Hudak.
For more information about Union County parks and recreation programs, visit ucnj.org/parks or call the Parks Department, 908-527-4900.
For questions about pump accuracy, fuel additives, or other consumer issues related to gasoline, contact the Union County Division of Consumer Affairs at 908-654-9840 and/or go to www.ucnj.org/gastips.