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Meter Season Has Arrived!

 Meter Season Has Arrived!

Summer is in full swing and Americans are racking up driving miles. During this season PMP Corporation typically sees a spike in sales of meters, valves, electronic printers and other key components used in gas stations. The reasons for the increase include: higher usage of dispensers, the associated wear of components and increased traffic at gas stations.

What many station owners may not realize is that they may be giving away gas for free! This is due to meter wear which results in dispensers registering less fuel volume than what was actually delivered. Inaccurate meters cause thousands of dollars in lost profits each year, even when they are within the nationally accepted tolerance.

Okay, so here comes the math. Most states’ Weights and Measures regulations allow for a tolerance of up to 6 cubic inches per 5 gallons pumped. However, if a gas station has a meter over-delivering by just one cubic inch per five gallons, that station gives away almost one gallon (0.87) per one thousand gallons pumped. A reasonably busy station will pump 100,000 gallons per month, giving away more than 86 gallons every month! At the current low national average price of approximately $2.25/gallon, that means a gas station would give away $2,337.66 over the course of a year. Now imagine a station whose dispensers have an average error of 2 or 3 cubic inches per every 5 gallons pumped; it can mean more than $7,000 in lost profits for the year!

The moral of this story is that station owners should not wait for a Weights & Measures Sealer to check the accuracy of their meters. Station owners who contract with calibration services on a regularly scheduled basis are likely to see significant savings in profitability. Distributors and service companies who offer calibrations may obtain printed brochures on this topic by contacting PMP at (800) 243-6628 or emailing us at sales@pmp-corp.com.

A question that I hear from time to time is, how does a meter wear and how can PMP bring it back to a like new condition?  The operation of a typical piston meter involves multiple areas which can wear, including the interfaces of:  valve to valve seat, cam shaft to piston arm, and piston cup to cylinder wall.  Worn components can result in fuel passing through the meter without registering the appropriate volume of gasoline dispensed.  With very limited exceptions meters typically wear in favor of the consumer, meaning gas stations with worn meters typically charge for less than what they dispense.  Usually meters can be calibrated back to accuracy with field adjustment by a qualified service technician.  If the wear exceeds a certain point, the meter may not be capable of proper calibration and should be replaced by a PMP remanufactured meter to insure accurate dispensing.

A final note of caution for service firms, station owners and calibrators:  If you are wondering if, to allow for anticipated wear, your meter can be adjusted to your advantage within the allowable tolerance, the answer is – NO!  Weights and Measures Handbook 44 states “Equipment in service at a single place of business found to be in error predominantly in a direction favorable to the device user and near the tolerance limit shall not be considered maintained in a proper operating condition.”

PMP Corporation | 25 Security Drive | PO Box 422 | Avon | CT | 06001

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