Friday, May 05, 2006

Getting Squeezed At The Gas Pump?

It's frustrating enough having seen the price of a gallon of gasoline rise from $0.25 to $3.00, but that's not what's got my shorts in a bunch today. What irks me is what I consider to be a deceptive trade practice. I have seen it at a variety of stations over a variety of time periods. It goes something like this:

You have 3 grades of gasoline to choose from at the pump. From your experience, if you choose the highest grade... you will be filled up and on the road in about 2 minutes. If you choose the middle or basic grade of fuel, it will take you 15 minutes to fill the tank. The pump speeds are manipulated by the station to work faster for their high grades and slower for their lower grades.

Yesterday I topped off my tank, and it took me 16 minutes and $52.50. I not arguing about the money today, but I mind being pressured to buy the higher grade because of the slower pump speed. And, I feel that the station's practice in this regard is deceptive.

Deceptive trade practices are monitored by the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ), and also by state law. In Delaware, it appears to me that the relevant sections are in Title 6 of the Delaware Code. I don't practice in those areas of the law, but it appears my case will be difficult to enforce.

I stand ready as a Plaintiff if there is a licensed attorney out there who can bring this action. And I stand ready as a listener if there is an engineer out there who can explain to me how I am wrong about my observations.

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