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CityNews probe uncovers more than 280 faulty pumps at GTA gas stations

As if prices weren’t high enough at the pumps a CityNews investigation has uncovered hundreds of faulty gas pumps at stations across the GTA.

A month ago CityNews brought you exclusive video captured by Alejandro Hernandez at a Thornhill Esso station. In the video (below) he stops pumping gas, but the meter keeps on creeping up, charging him more and more. The problem was investigated by Measurements Canada which has a mandate to inspect gas pumps every two years.

Deeper questioning by CityNews revealed a troubling number of faulty pumps in the GTA — 281 have been identified this year alone.

Petroleum Analyst with Gasbuddy.com, Dan McTeague, believes Measurements Canada should implement more frequent pump tests, especially at stations with high traffic.

“It’s nice to say you’re doing this every two years, perhaps do it every 18 months perhaps every year,” he said.

Measurements Canada tells CityNews when a pump is found to have an error of 1 per cent or under, a station has to fix it within 14 days.

McTeague says those errors can add up with the average GTA pump unloading about 3000 litres a day.

That means a measurement error of just half to one per cent could bring in an extra $15-30 per day, per pump.

Over two weeks, that amounts to hundreds in either losses for drivers, or the station itself, depending on the pump inaccuracy.

McTeague believes pumps should be shut off immediately when they’re found to be faulty. “If you’re going to let the pump continue to operate it certainly doesn’t help the retailer who has a problem with their inventory and it certainly doesn’t help the consumer that’s left short handed.”

A Fairness at the Pumps law came into effect in 2014 giving Measurements Canada the power to fine gas stations $2000 or even lay charges with court imposed fines of up to $50,000. But since the law came into effect not a single monetary penalty has been laid.

“Retailers have no interest in trying to rig or fix these pumps,” McTeague added. “They’re usually due to wear and tear things that are beyond the control of the gas station. I think in order to ensure the retailer and consumer can have confidence in each other and confidence in the system (Measurements Canada) should be moving up the inspection process so that for instance we’re doing this every year, year and a half but not two years.”

CityNews reached out to Measurements Canada to see if they are considering any changes to their current policies and procedures. However, they told us they would not be able to answer our questions today.