Fairness at the Pump Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

By Candace Kelley

Hello summer! According to AAA New Jersey Automobile Club, some 950,000 travelers will get on the road this summer. That forecast represents an 18 percent increase in travelers from 2009, a low point during the recession.

And for those traveling, officials of the Division of Weights and Measures in Union County say they are doing all they can to make sure consumers have confidence at the pumps.

“One of the requirements we look for before we actually do the test is that the hose must not touch the ground,” said Division of Weights and Measures Assistant Superintendent John Garofalo.

They use this measuring device to make sure that when you ask for a gallon you get a gallon. Today they kicked off their inspection of 150 gas stations in 20 counties.

“Consumers should always get a receipt to protect themselves. Secondly, always watch the transaction and make sure the price gauge has been reset. And check that you have been given the type and the grade of gas that you ordered in the correct amount that you ordered,” said Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chairman Christopher Hudak.

After gas stations are inspected, each pump will get a blue sticker if it passes and an orange sticker if it fails. Each violation per pump averages $100 as a fine.

So make sure to keep those receipts if you need to file a complaint.

And what about those gas prices? According to AAA, the average price of gas has gone up.

“Gas prices are going to be close to last year; $3.49 for upcoming weekend. Last year at $3.42,” said Regional Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations Cathleen Lewis.

But there is some good news. Construction on roads ripped up by Hurricane Sandy on Route 35 will come to an end starting tomorrow. Northbound lanes will be open but there will only be one southbound lane for a couple of miles. And that construction along the highway from Berkeley to Seaside Heights will also stop on June 13. Work in those areas won’t start again on those areas until Sept. 3. But all construction will be suspended for Memorial Day weekend. Great news for travelers.

“Hit the beach if the weather cooperates and it’s nice down there,” said Mike Mead.

And before you hit that beach, make sure that car won’t leave you stranded.

“Tune up is always a great thing to do. Tires, fluids, batteries, those are the really important things. Make sure that you have an emergency kit,” Lewis said.

This way your vacation won’t start on the side of the road.