Archived Story

Rep. Sharon Tyler: Peace of mind at the pump

Published 11:05pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Have you ever stood at the gas pump and wondered why some prices are printed larger, some are smaller or question whether or not you can get a discount for paying with cash or having a certain credit card?

Have you had a hard time reading the fine print on the pump or wonder what your final cost will actually be?

With gas prices fluctuating daily, and upcoming Labor Day weekend driving looming, I wanted to point out some important changes that will happen over the course of the next year regarding how gas stations advertise their fuel prices.

The changes are a result of House Bill 5596, a bill that I co-sponsored.

Between now and next summer, retail gas stations are coming under stricter advertising rules and will be facing tougher fines if they fail to follow the new regulations.

These changes should make it easier for consumers to understand their options and know exactly the price they are paying and the product they are receiving.

According to Public Act 254 of 2012, roadside retail locations that sell motor fuel must comply with the following practices starting next July:

• Gas prices must be clearly and completely posted in full — to the tenth of a cent. No more rounding up or down, or additional, un-posted costs.

• Advertised prices must include the fuel grade being sold using the full word for that grade, or a standardized abbreviation. The words are regular, midgrade, premium, diesel, kerosene or E85 ethanol.

• All prices must be displayed at the pump. Once the customer selects a grade to purchase, however, only the price of the selected product should be displayed during the retail transaction. This will make it clear to customers that they are receiving the correct product at the correct price.

• All indications on the pump display are required to calculate the correct total price of the purchase. No more additional costs or savings on your printed receipt that don’t match the pump display.

• If the advertised price of motor fuel is subject to one or more conditions, the retailer is required to post the conditions next to the sale price.

• All prices must be displayed in the same size and style if the unit price for the same grade of motor fuel differs.

Any retailer that fails to follow these requirements will face increased fines. Habitual offenders will be forced to pay for an inspection of their facility.

Although there are many more changes some of us would like to see, these are concrete steps that retailers must take to help ensure fair rates at the pump.

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks