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Ahead of Memorial Day, State Inspectors Put Gas Stations To The Test

Inspections help ensure consumers are buying the type of gas advertised, officials said.

When you head to the gas station to fuel up this holiday weekend, will you be purchasing the type of gas that’s advertised?

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot hopes so. Thursday, ahead of Memorial Day, Franchot joined state field enforcers during a routine inspection of a Bethesda Exxon station near the .  State inspectors regularly perform tests at Maryland stations to determine whether the gasoline grade that’s advertised matches the fuel’s octane level, Franchot said.

“We want to make sure when someone comes into a gas station in Maryland and pays money for high octane gas, that it is in fact high octane gas,” Franchot told reporters.

Of the 2,300 gas stations in Maryland, more than 2,000 have been inspected this year by state regulators, Franchot told reporters. Of those inspected, about one percent failed, Franchot said – a rate that tends to be higher in states without regular oversight.

Stations that fail an inspection can be subject to having their pumps taken out of service, officials said.

Thursday, a state inspector used an octane reader to test the gas at the Montgomery Mall Exxon, a device that uses a laser to estimate the octane levels in the fuel, according to Nathan Essey, a supervising inspector in the comptroller’s office. The reading indicated the fuel matches the gasoline grade advertised, though the samples will be sent back to Maryland’s motor fuel testing lab for an official reading, Essey said.

“I want to assure Memorial Day travelers that when they come in to buy gas in Maryland, they’re going to get exactly what is advertised and what they’re paying for,” Franchot said.

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