State inspectors monitor increasing fuel, food costs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gas prices are up for the 24th straight day, rising by three-tenths of a cent, according to AAA.

The national average price of regular gasoline sits at $3.74 a gallon. That's 29 cents more than a month ago. Richmond-area drivers are paying roughly $3.57.  That's up six cents from last week.

Inspectors are out making sure people are getting charged the right amount for gas.

"Obviously it's a good thing making sure you get what you paid for," said Richard Chase, who puts about $65 dollars worth of gas in his tank to drive back and forth to Lynchburg every week.

A spokesperson with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says staff are inspecting weights and measures at the pump all year. It's getting extra attention now as unrest continues in the Middle East, and prices climb before the weekend and Spring Break. It's an unsettling thought for many drivers.

"Oh yeah, who doesn't want to spend less money?" Chase noted. "I'm always looking to spend less money. You have vacations coming up and they always have a tendency to raise gas prices during high demand time."

He feels there's nothing he can do about it. However, the state says it's trying to do its part to monitor gas prices. It also makes sure the cost and weight of food are accurate.

"I'd hate for me to walk into a grocery store, buy a loaf of bread and then find out the same person paid $2.50 and I paid $1.75, yeah of course," Chase added.

The same goes for fuel costs. The state inspects weights and measures at nearly 48,000 pumps across the Commonwealth. Last year, it found about 5%, or roughly 2,400 pumps, had inaccurate readings. They were either charging the customer too much or too little for gas.

"We need every little bit of savings we can get," said Carlton Harrison. "I applaud them for doing that."

The state had a 95% accuracy rate last year. It's a number it would like to continue to improve. Along with pumps, the state also collects gasoline samples and tests for sediment.

Inspectors also make sure there is no more than 10 percent Ethanol in the fuel.

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