High fuel and oil prices will have a direct effect on home heating costs this winter. As reported by USA Today, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Americans will spend nearly an additional 20% more on energy this year than last year. Throughout the year and especially during the heating season, The Division of Standards conducts spot checks for all types of commercial transactions and heating oil deliveries. Each fuel meter has a meter security seal affixed by the weights and measures official which prevents tampering with the meter calibrator and other adjustable meter components. This safeguard ensures consumers get the exact amount of fuel they are paying for. Field officers check these meters during deliveries to make sure the security seals are intact. While on site, the officers also check the delivery ticket to ensure nothing fraudulent has taken place during the delivery.
Spot checks at motor fuel locations are conducted to confirm accurate price signs are posted and dispensing equipment is marked with the correct brand and octane value. Octane tests are conducted on site to ensure the proper octane is being dispensed and that lower and higher octane fuels have not been mixed.
During a recent inspection, the Division of Standards found all 69 randomly selected gas stations were within the acceptable limits of the advertised and posted octane levels. To see the full survey, search "Octane Survey 2008" on our website, www.mass.gov/standards.
Meat and Produce
Field officers also inspect prepackaged meat and produce to ensure the actual weight and price matches the marked cost on the package. Sometimes, food retailers will include the package weight in the item pricing. The Division of Standards encourages consumers and retailers to be mindful of what is being weighed and its cost. For example, in the annual survey of seafood sales, the Division issued four citations to retailers who overcharged customers at the seafood counter. Survey results can be found by searching "Seafood Survey" on our website.