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Who enforces the laws and regulations regarding petroleum product quality, quantity, and labeling?
The Division of Oil and Public Safety (OPS) is responsible for the enforcement of weights and measures laws related to the quality and quantity, and labeling of petroleum products retailed in Colorado.
What specifications apply to gasoline and diesel sold in Colorado?
Colorado fuel product statutes adopt by reference the most current applicable American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specifications for gasoline and diesel fuel.
How does the Division of Oil and Public Safety promote consumer confidence when purchasing fuel products?
We randomly and routinely sample products in the marketplace for quality to ensure Colorado drivers are receiving products that meet specification. We also inspect and verify the calibration of all retail motor fuel dispensers, to ensure that these devices are accurately dispensing fuel products. In addition we respond to consumer complaints to prevent the sale of substandard products.
How does the Division of Oil and Public Safety collect and test gasoline and diesel fuel to determine if those products meet the states product quality specifications?
Our field inspectors routinely collect product samples from retail stations, bulk storage plants, refineries and terminals located all over the state. Product samples are also collected in response to consumer complaints and tips. The samples are then taken to the OPS petroleum laboratory for testing. Samples are tested using procedures developed by ASTM International. Several tests are performed on each product sample.
What does the Division of Oil and Public Safety do when it finds fuel products that do not meet the specifications?
After it is determined that the fuel product does not meet specifications, the off-spec product is placed off sale, and appropriate enforcement action is taken. These actions include having the off-spec product pumped out and replaced with product that has been tested and meets specifications.
What methods does the Division of Oil and Public Safety use to determine if the gasoline and diesel fuel dispensers are delivering the correct quantity?
Our inspectors routinely inspect all retail motor fuel dispenser meters in Colorado, using certified test measures to ensure they are dispensing fuel accurately. If a meter is not dispensing accurately, our inspectors will adjust, calibrate and reseal the meter, or place it out of service until adjusted and calibrated by a qualified technician.
My vehicle owner's manual says the tank in my car can hold 16 gallons but I was able to pump in 16.5 gallons, and I did not arrive at the station with an empty tank. OR My tank holds 15 gallons of gas. My tank was already half full, so why could I pump in more than 1/2 tank. What is wrong?
There may or may not be anything wrong. Many vehicle owners' manuals list the volume of usable space in the tank. The usable space does not include the space within the filler pipe or the vapor head space in the tank that allows for expansion of product. When you combine the usable space and this additional space, the amount of product that can be put in the tank is greater than the tanks stated volume in the owner's manual. Sometimes manufacturers change the design or manufacturing process, which can result in a change to the capacity of the tank, and the owner's manual is not updated. Check with your dealer. Also, report your concern to the Division of Oil and Public Safety, and we will have an inspector verify the calibration of the pump.
Does a higher octane gasoline make my car run better or increase its horsepower?
You should use the octane level fuel for your car that is recommended by the manufacturer. Purchasing a higher octane fuel than the engine was designed to run on will not make it perform better or increase its horsepower.
I just filled up my vehicle with gasoline or diesel fuel and now it pings/does not run right/quit running or I do not think I got all the gasoline/diesel fuel I paid for. How do I file a complaint?
If you experience problems after purchasing fuel or if you believe you did not get the amount of fuel you paid for you should call our office at 303-318-8500 or 303-318-8507, to file a complaint. It is very important that your call be made as soon as you recognize that you have a problem, as some stations receive deliveries of new fuel products on a daily basis. Your timeliness in reporting is important, as it determines whether our inspectors can obtain representative samples of the same product that potentially caused you a problem. Please provide us with the facility name and address, date the product was purchased, the type, grade and volume of product purchased, the pump number, and specific engine symptoms related to use of the product purchased. This will help the laboratory focus on analysis specific to the symptoms.
How can I find out the results of the testing?
We will notify you of the results of the testing upon completion of all analysis. If the inspector encounters water in the fuel, the product is immediately placed off sale, and you would be notified that same day. Laboratory analytical results for other tests are usually available within in a few days after sample collection.
Does the petroleum laboratory accept samples from the public?
Not usually, however we will send an inspector to the facility to collect a representative sample of the product that we have received a complaint on. There are specific sampling and handling requirements that our inspectors follow for each sample collected.
I started to purchase gasoline at a station, and I activated the pump. I didn't even touch the handle or the nozzle and 3 cents was already displayed on the pump. I was being charged for gasoline before I even started to fill-up. What is happening here?
You witnessed a phenomenon called "meter creep" or "pump jump". This sometimes occurs when after activating a pump and selecting a product, the dispenser registers a small transaction, usually a few cents, even though no product was dispensed. There are several causes for this phenomenon, such as a leak in the system, thermal contraction, or malfunctioning equipment. This is usually not a deliberate attempt on the part of the gas station, and they should not charge you for product not dispensed. Please end the transaction and inform the station attendant of the incident. Ask the attendant to restart the transaction at zero. Should this happen again please call our office and we will send out an inspector to check this pump and make sure it gets it fixed.
I pulled in to a gas station to fill up after seeing the price posted on the street sign. However shortly after I began fueling I noticed the unit price displayed on the pump was two cents more than that posted on the street sign. Is this legal? What should I do?
Colorado laws do not require gas stations to post prices on street signs. However, if prices are posted on street signs or anywhere else to attract customers, they are required to exactly match the price displayed on the dispenser. A consumer is entitled to the price posted on the street sign if it is lower than that displayed on the dispenser during the transaction. If you notice a discrepancy, notify the station attendant immediately so that they can correct the price on the posted signs, and adjust the amount you owe for your fuel purchase. Also notify our office as soon as possible so we can ensure the situation is addressed immediately, and take appropriate enforcement action if necessary.
I was filling up at the pump, when the auto shutoff on the nozzle did not work and gas overflowed onto the pavement, before I was able to shut it off. What should I do?
Please notify the attendant at the station immediately so that they address the spill, and inspect the nozzle. Then contact the Division of Oil and Public Safety as soon as possible. We will send an inspector out to the station to try to duplicate what happened to you, and verify the proper operation of the nozzle. If the nozzle is found to be defective we will place it off-sale until repaired or replaced.
I filled up a portable 5 gallon gasoline can and was able to put 5.5 gallons into the can. Am I being cheated at the pump?
Most portable fuel containers are not considered accurate test measures, as they have room to hold more than their stated volume to allow for product expansion and to prevent overfilling. This additional volume allows for filling them up with more than their stated volume. Our inspectors routinely inspect and calibrate retail motor fuel dispensers, using certified test measures to ensure they are dispensing fuel accurately. However like any other mechanical device, the meters on dispensers can wear over time, compromising their accuracy.