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Regular gas same price as premium after mix-up

April 22, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

CLEAR SPRING - It's enough to make a business owner flip his lid.

The caps were switched on the gas tanks at Al's Pizza and Convenience Store in Clear Spring when a fuel truck arrived with a delivery, prompting the driver to start pumping "regular" octane gasoline into the "premium" tank.

So when the field inspector from the state comptroller's office tested the premium gas earlier this month, it missed the mark.

A "stop sale" order was issued, according to Lee Williams, supervisor of inspections for the Field Enforcement Bureau of the comptroller's office's Regulation and Enforcement Division.

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Williams said the tests put the gas at a 91.1 octane rating, while the rating posted on the station's premium tanks was 93.

Williams said the absolute minimum octane rating for premium gas is 92.4, according to national standards. That small window is allowed "because octane testing is not an exact science," he said.

The low-grade high-grade gas, he said, appeared to be a delivery problem.

At that point, Williams said, the business could no longer sell the gas at premium prices - but could sell it as "regular" octane gas.

Which is what owner Pete Filip opted to do.

So the prices on the signs were changed accordingly, with both high-grade fuel and low-grade at the same price - baffling a few drivers.

"Now we're just trying to get rid of the gas," Filip said Thursday.

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