Did I just pay premium for mid-grade gasoline?
April 7, 2010 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Did I just pay for Premium Gasoline when I was really pumping Mid-Grade? While I was fueling up the car I noticed 2 of the 3 nozzles were switched from their correct position; what did I pay for?

I was pumping gas using this kind of pump - (disregard the "Start" button; the pump in question didn't have one) it was the kind that has 3 hoses, 3 nozzles, and 3 plastic "holders" that hold the nozzles in place until you take the nozzle out of its place and "lift" the plastic holder to let the machine know which type of gas you want.

My pump (similar to the first one pictured) had a Regular, Mid-Grade, and Premium hose/nozzle. I placed the nozzle sitting under "Premium" in my car, lifted the plastic lever where the nozzle rested seconds before and then the LCD screen that had displayed the prices for "Regular" and "Mid-Grade" shut off and only the "Premium" price was lit... I began fueling... then I look up and notice that the nozzle in my car is the "middle" hose and the hose directly over "Premium" was sitting under "Mid-Grade"! Meaning the nozzle fueling my car was the nozzle/hose attached above the "Mid-Grade" not "Premium"... I quickly glanced over at the other pumps in the station and all the hoses/nozzles were in their correct place but mine was the only one "switched".

What did I pay for? Do the pumps with 3 hoses/nozzles work like the pumps with 1 hose/nozzle and 3 choices like this one?

Since the pump DID charge me for Premium does this then mean that I can hypothetically place the hose/nozzle under Premium in my car but lift the "Regular" lever and let the "Regular" nozzle/hose hang while I pump Premium but pay for Regular?
posted by MrBCID to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not a gas pump expert, but logic tells me if each grade of gas had a dedicated nozzle, then selecting "premium" and then trying to pump from the "mid-grade" nozzle wouldn't work. "Mid-grade" would not be selected, so no gas would come out. But then again, when has logic ever applied to gasoline? :)
posted by The Light Fantastic at 5:43 PM on April 7, 2010

Check your receipt. It should give the number of gallons and the total price, so do the math, figure out the price per gallon, and compare it with the prices on the pump to see which grade you were charged for.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:49 PM on April 7, 2010

I think you got premium and that the three hoses really operate more as one and when you selected the grade by sliding up the premium pastic lever you started pumping premium.
posted by pappy at 5:50 PM on April 7, 2010

You may have been charged for premium gas, but then you pumped premium gas. The pumps won't work any other way.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:50 PM on April 7, 2010

I used to work on carwashes, and the entry units. They're often tied into a computer in the main gas station building, which in turn is tied into the gas pumps. Interfacing them all meant I had to sometimes fritz with gas pumps. I noticed, at some point, that on many pumps, the hoses criss-cross; in other words if the hoses drop down from points 1,2,3, they might not go to handle pockets 1,2,3. Of course, some hoses don't criss-cross. We car-wash guys had some theories as to why this was so (usually the guess involved pump-setup-guy competence) but never asked.

ALso, the meter that counts out gallons/dollars is connected to each hose separately. So when it's expecting mid-grade, it won't measure premium.

You got the right gas.
posted by notsnot at 7:48 PM on April 7, 2010

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