(WWLP) – Gassing up your car can take a big chunk out of your paycheck. For a lot of people, next to a home, a car is your largest purchase. So you want to take care of it. The 22News I-Team discovered your not always getting what you pay for.
85.6 octane when it was posted at 87. 91.7 premium octane when it was posted at 93. Those are just a few of the examples we discovered after going through state inspection results. You expect that whichever button you press on the gas pump, that’s what is going into your gas tank.
The I-Team went through thousands of state inspections over the past two years. We found that, in many cases, you’re getting better gasoline than what you’re paying for. That wouldn’t damage your engine. But, nearly 1 in 5 (18.5%) gas pumps tested across the state, dispensed gas with less than the posted octane level.
In western Massachusetts, it’s worse, 21.7% are filling your tanks with less than posted octane levels.
Breaking this down by county, 41.1% of the pumps tested in Hampden County were dispensing gas below the posted octane level. 13.4% in Hampshire County, 10.7% in Franklin County and 22.2% in Berkshire County were below the posted octane level when the state tested their pumps.
Charles Carroll is the state’s Division of Standards director. “We may get a run where the octanes appear to be on our machines to be a little bit below standard, but never more than one number, one number is acceptable,” said Carroll.
The I-Team discovered several state inspected gas pumps, including several on the Mass Pike were dispensing gas more than one full number off the octane level that’s posted.
(87 is approved, 87 octane, if you’re getting 85 in your car what can that do?) “I thought 87 was bad if they’re running 85, the car just isn’t designed for that it can only compensate so much, then it starts to damage the engine,” said Bruno Parrotta, owner Parrotta’s Auto Repair in Agawam.
14 of the gas pumps tested in western Massachusetts had premium, plus or regular gas that was off by more than one posted octane level.
The state can impose hefty fines, but Carroll says that is rare. He admits it’s just not a perfect system.
“If you go in after me and I got regular, that hose line is filled with regular gasoline, there’s probably 3/10 of a gallon regular in that you go in get your premium you’re going to get 3/10 of a gallon of regular in that and if i come in after you to get regular, I’m going to get 3/10 of a gallon of premium,” said Carroll.
The state doesn’t inspect gas pumps in every city or town, some have their own inspectors.
You can click here to see the state inspection results from September 1st, 2013 through September 1st, 2015 if you want to what level of gas your station was pumping out when the state inspected it.