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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you check the quality of the fuel at gas stations?
Yes, the County Division of Weights and Measures checks quality of fuel on a complaint basis. The State Division of Measurement Standards will periodically check for octane and quality of petroleum products at locations randomly selected throughout the state.
Have you ever shut down a whole gas station?
Yes, there have been several instances of contamination in underground storage tanks and delivery of non-standard product to underground storage tanks which resulted in a gas station closure.
How often do you check gas stations to ensure that the pumps are measuring properly?
​Gas stations are inspected once every two years. Gas stations that do not pass the initial inspection are placed on an increased frequency of inspection. Increased frequency of inspection can be once a year or every six months depending on the number of meters that failed the initial inspection.
Can any scale be used for measurement in commercial transactions or does it have to be a special scale?
​Only scales that have been approved for commercial use (type approved) may be used for a commercial transactions.
Have you ever found anyone deliberately cheating when using a measuring device in a commercial transaction?
​That's a difficult question to answer because intent is hard to prove. Overcharges when using a measuring device in a commercial transaction are usually the result of mechanical failure of devices.
If there is no seal on a measuring device used in a commercial transaction, how do I know if it is accurate?
​All commercial measuring devices, such as scales and pumps at gasoline stations, should have a round paper seal showing the date it was tested by the County Weights and Measures division. If it does not have a seal, call (408) 918-4630
Do you investigate complaints of improper measurements related to commercial transactions?
​Investigation of consumer complaints by the County Weights and Measures Division is a high priority with the County. All complaints are logged in a complaint log book and assigned to a district inspector. Complaints are acted upon within three working days. When a complaint is outside our jurisdiction, we direct the consumer to the appropriate agency.
What is tare?
​Tare, or tare weight, is the weight of packaging, wrapping or any material not considered product or part of the net weight. Tare weight plus net weight equals gross weight. Selling by gross weight or measure is a misdemeanor (Business & Professions Code 12023).
What happens if a gasoline or diesel meter is cheating the customer?
​If any meter or other commercial device is found out of tolerance and is overcharging the customer, it is placed out of service (red tagged) until repaired by a licensed service agent.
Last updated: 9/28/2017 1:02 PM