Watchdog: 75% of Gas Stations Had Deviations Detrimental to Consumers

Ministry isn't monitoring gas pump accuracy properly, says watchdog

Gasoline pumps in Israel aren't accurate enough but the ministry responsible fro enforcement isn't up to the job, rules State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

The task of monitoring gas pumps belongs to the unit for regulation of weights and measurements at the Industry and Trade Ministry. But it fails to protect the public from the use of inaccurate measuring instruments, says the Comptroller, who inspected the unit's its supervision of gas station pumps and bridge scales (for heavy weights), the quality of enforcement and the functioning of the metallurgy laboratory.

The audit found supervision over the accuracy of gas pumps to be wanting. The allowable deviation is 0.3%, but a review conducted in 2005 showed there were deviations detrimental to consumers in 75% of all stations, although 66% of these fell within the allowable range.

Less than half of all gas pumps were tested by the ministry's unit in 2005, although procedural rules call for annual testing of every pump. The unit is also not equipped with appropriate instruments that would enable reliable, ongoing testing. 
In addition, the unit failed to check tens of thousands of weight measurement instruments, which could cost consumers a great deal of money. Bridge scales were found to be tested once in five years.

The ministry said the discrepancy is due to the lack of manpower. The laboratory operated by the unit, which should provide high-quality testing, does not meet the standards that prevail in similar laboratories worldwide, is unfit to perform some of its tasks and the results of its tests are not recognized in other countries.