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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Twenty-one Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require its gas retailers to have country auditors test octane levels to ensure the correct octane is being pumped into tanks, according to Rep. William Healy.
"When you pump that 93 octane gas into your car, you have no way of knowing if it's 93, 92 or 87," Healy told The Associated Press. "We need to make sure consumers are getting what they paid for."
Ohio sells approximately 6 billions of gas annually, according to Healy. It is also one of only four states that do not have octane quality testing programs, the AP reported.
With the bill, gas stations and vendors will receive a warning if the gasoline ranks inaccurately more than one octane point. After failing the test more than once, fines will be imposed, starting at $250 and reaching as much as $1,000 for a fourth offense.
In Summit County, an auditor already has the authority to test octane ratings and can shut down pumps that have inaccurate octane levels. Since the program began last year seven violations have been recorded, which have all been fixed since then, officials told the AP. Franklin County auditor Joe Testa has tested the fuel quality in the Columbus, Ohio area since 2001 and has reported that failure rates for the first year were as high as 15 percent. Although he can not fine gas stations if their ratings are incorrect, the failure rate has dropped to 3 to 5 percent since he started.
"Station owners generally appreciate that we are verifying their octane levels," Testa told the AP. "For the most part, merchants want to treat customers fairly as well."
A spokesperson for House Speaker Jon Husted told the AP that it was too early to measure support for the bill.
According to Jennifer Rhodes, general counsel for the Ohio Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, the bill is unnecessary because numerous oil companies do their own checks to meet federal standards. She added that portable devices that test octane levels are only accurate 60 to 65 percent of the time as compared to more accurate lab testing.