State falls behind on ensuring accurate gas pumps, grocery scales

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When pumping gas or buying produce at the grocery stores, do you trust that you’re getting what you paid for? An audit revealed some shocking details on how few inspections are being done in the state to ensure we are getting what we pay for.

The Department of Agriculture called for the audit themselves. They’re hoping it will be a tool when they go to bat for more resources at the legislature.

Most of us swipe our cards fill up our tanks, trusting that what the pump says is actually what we’re getting.

“It’s all about trusting our government, our state, that we’re getting what we paid for,” customer Uilani Tava said.

But an audit on the State Department of Agriculture’s measurement standards branch shows that between 2010 and 2012, less than seven percent of the gas pumps across the state were inspected for proper weights and measures.

Smaller scales, like the ones found in grocery stores, were at less than three percent. The state auditor says that with only two inspectors, the department simply cannot fulfill the workload.

“I think just kind of snowballed into too much work. Not enough time, the resources were just spread too thin,” State Auditor Jan Yamane said.

The Department has been fighting for positions to be reinstated since they were cut in half during the budget crisis.

The legislature appropriated $420,000 to the department last year to fill a program manager and three inspector positions, but the auditor found that those had still not been filled.

“There’s any number of ways that this impacts our daily lives, so when we saw that so many of these enforcement activities were not being done, that’s when we have a concern,” Yamane said.

Barney Robinson who owns several Chevron stations says he doesn’t rely on the state to ensure that his scales are accurate.

“We wanna make sure that we’re not under-delivering, over-delivering or leaking gas underground, so we have a daily reconciliation to verify that everything is operating properly,” Robinson said.

The Agriculture Department told KHON2 that the initial money given to them is a start to begin making changes including trying to fill those vacant positions.

They also plan to hire out private agencies to help out with outer-island inspections.

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