Monday, May 28, 2012

Ripoffs at Texas gas pumps

And we're not talking about the price per gallon.

State inspectors have found hundreds of gas stations in the greater Houston area -- 350 or more -- that likely stiffed motorists because of poorly performing pumps.
Data from the Texas Department of Agriculture shows about one in five inspected stores or stations had least one pump, sometimes more, that failed to meet standards, according to analysis by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. In the greater San Antonio area, 99 of 509 inspected stores were operating at least one malfunctioning pump.
The cost to consumers may be nominal, as little as 3 cents, or as much as $3 per fill-up -- depending on the problems.

Yes, we have had long discussions here about this topic previously. In 2010, Democratic ag commish candidate Hank Gilbert found gas pump stickers in Tyler with Rick Perry's name on them, which meant they hadn't been inspected since 1997.

But to refresh: the regulatory body responsible for gas pumps in Texas is Weights and Measures, overseen by the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples. Before him, that title was held by Susan Combs, another powerfully unqualified statewide office-holder. And before her... Rick Perry.

Weak regulations, shoddy compliance, lax oversight... all weighted in favor of Big Business. Where have we heard that before?

Oh, but the responsibility for enforcement of the law lies with some other incompetent Republican. Can you guess who?

The office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has responsibility for suing gas station owners who intentionally defraud motorists. Over the past five years, the Attorney General's Office has filed one such lawsuit. That case followed inspections of Sunmart gas stations in July 2008. The investigation revealed that 58 percent of the company's Texas gas pumps were shortchanging customers. The Attorney General's Office sued Sunmart's owner, Petroleum Wholesale LP, and a Harris County jury ordered the company to pay $30 million in restitution to customers, penalties and fees to the state. The verdict was later thrown out on a procedural issue. Court records indicate the case is on appeal.
At least 900 Houston-area customers complained to the state during the one-year period. Stuart, the man who stopped at the Shell station near Washington and Studemont, was one of them, prompted by his surprise the day his Jeep Grand Cherokee took nearly 20 gallons of gas.

Let's be fair; AG Abbott has been pretty busy with a few other things. But not anything that might happen in 2014. No sirree.

For every conservative who has complained about weak regulations, shoddy compliance, and lax enforcement with respect to Ill Eagles: where's your outrage now? You're getting ripped off nearly every time you fill up your tank, and all you're doing is bitching about Obama.

How much more evidence do you need that Republicans just don't know how to govern? There hasn't been a Democrat elected to statewide office for 18 years in Texas, and yet conservatives still want to blame them for everything that's wrong with this state.

Hell, Republicans march in lockstep to the polls to give the most incompetent among themselves a PROMOTION.

Who is the bigger bunch of stooges -- Republican elected officials or the people who keep on voting for them?

No comments: