Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memo To Chevron:
I Like A Little Foreplay Before I Get Fucked

So Saturday morning on my way down to Sequoia National park I happened to stop for gas at a Chevron station in Visalia, CA. I drive a Nissan Maxima with a 15.5 gallon gas tank, and at the time I had just a shade under a quarter of a tank left. To make the math easier, let's just round my gas tank up to 16 gallons which will also give Chevron another 3% or so benefit of the doubt. So filling up with just less than 1/4 of a 16 gallon tank, one would expect the pump to read in the neighborhood of 12 gallons when the tank was full, correct?

Funny thing, that damn math & science & fancy numbers, because when my tank was filled the pump read that 14.5 gallons had been dispensed at $3.45 a gallon for a grand total of just over $50. But who cares about the pricing- what I want to know is how the fuck 14.5 gallons of gas can fit into a 15.5 gallon tank that is just a shade under 1/4 full.

Is Chevron adjusting the settings on their gas pumps and fucking over you and I? Is that how they are posting 867 billion dollar profits each quarter these days? I mean, this would be the Office Space hoax on the magnitude of damn-near infinity if it were true. I can't imagine that if they are that they would adjust the settings so drastically that it would be so obvious that a numbers geek like me would notice; you would think that they would change the setting by 2-3%, no one would ever notice, and the profit would add up and roll in on a scale that makes the Office Space look like peanuts. On the other hand, what happened on Friday is simply not possible.

Here's the trick: this is the 2nd time that this has happened to me in the last 6 weeks at a Chevron station. The first was in Pasadena at 5.45 a.m. on a Sunday morning, so I was too tired to remember it for more than the 30 minutes that the whole thing was rattling around in my head that day. But now it has happened again, that a physically impossible amount of gas has been registered on Chevron pump.

If they are fucking us, is it Chevron corp doing this across the board? Or is it individual gas station owners realizing that if they can figure out how to manipulate the settings on their pumps they can do their own little Office Space scam somehow? I would be inclined to think the latter, but I'm not sure how they could cook their books to siphon off the illegal profit.

Being that I walk to work, my car sleeps alot during the week, and I only fill my gas tank up every once in a while, but I have filled it a couple of times in between these two incidents, at stations not named Chevron, and the numbers have been normal, so I think that rules out the possibility of my car's gas gauge being jacked up.

Has anyone else experienced or heard of this? If you fill up at a Chevron station, especially one in California, and see any weird ass results let me know- I would be curious/interested. Or if you are way smarter than me and explain how this could happen, then feel free to educate my ignant ass.


Gary said...

Individual station owners are responsible for their pumps' accuracy. Additionally, most states have regulations that allow for a degree of inaccuracy on any given pump. In the case of my state (Michigan), that allowance is pretty generous. I've got to imagine that California is much more strict. Lastly, the pump should have a phone number on it for whichever state department regulates and monitors these things for consumers to call and register a complaint about pump inaccuracies.

I lied, not the last thing: car fuel gauges are wildly inaccurate. A quarter tank on the gauge doesn't in any way mean that you have 4 gallons left in your tank. In truth it could mean 2 gallons, or even one, depending on the model. My Mazda6 takes forever to get through the first half of a tank of gas and then blasts through the remaining half.

Just a possibility. Great blog, I enjoy reading it.

Kanu said...

Thanks Gary for the info.

What threw me wasn't that is was a little off, but that is was waaaayyyy off- twice. From what I know about my own fuel gage, this just seemed absurdly out of proportion.

I am going to examine it a little closer in the future and see what happens, although I usually gas up at ARCO when I can since it is so much cheaper than the others out here in CA.