Every day across Alabama, inspectors weigh and measure consumer goods and raw materials. The accuracy of those measurements is vital to maintaining a healthy economy.

“Our job is to protect the public,” says Stacy Boshell, a unit manager for the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI).

Boshell oversees the Weights and Measures division of ADAI, which regulates the accuracy of anything that determines the quantity, size or count of a consumer good – from the extraction of raw materials in coal mines to the produce scanners in grocery stores.

Weights and measures inspects gas pumps

Economically, one of the most critical areas regulated by these inspectors is at the gas pump. ADAI inspects equipment at gas stations as well as the terminals used by gas distributors in the fuel industry.

“The purpose of a measuring device is to create an equal means of trade for both parties,” Boshell says. “In other words, if an inaccurate device is not hurting the consumer, it’s hurting the business owner.”

ADAI also checks the accuracy of scanning devices in the supermarket, in taxicabs, and at large-scale mail and delivery services such as UPS and FedEx.

Because the need for accurate measurement, weights and measures affects such myriad industries, inspectors undergo a rigorous screening process.

“It takes a unique individual to be an inspector,” Boshell says. “On a day-to-day basis, they don’t have someone telling them to do this or do that. That’s why when we hire, we look for self-starters who are familiar with the industry they’ll be inspecting.”

While the professionalism of inspectors is fundamental to this department, new technologies are changing and shaping the way the inspectors deliver their services. The immediate access to information through smartphones and tablet computers helps increase accuracy and efficiency.

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“There are so many laws that deal with weighing and measuring accuracy,” Boshell says. “In the past, that information was not readily available to inspectors in the field. Having that information in hand makes our people more efficient and more accurate.”

Boshell notes big operational changes revolving around the use of technology are coming in 2012.

“We work for the taxpayers,” he says. “And if expanding our technology can help us get them more bang for their buck, then we are all about it.”

Alabama Weights and Measures Statistics

90,000
Approximate number of gasoline pumps throughout the state of Alabama.

5,000
Approximate number of heavy capacity scales in service in Alabama. These scales measure large amounts of raw materials. One such example would be the scales found in lumberyards.

4,000
Approximate number of high-speed meters in service in Alabama taking a variety of measurements on everything from household gas use to miles traveled by taxicab drivers.

14,000
Approximate number of lightweight capacity scales in service in Alabama. These scales measure small weights such as post office packages or produce scales in grocery stores.

How to Report a Problem

ADAI weights and measures inspectors engage in regular annual and semi-annual inspection routines. However, if an unexpected problem is anticipated or arises, it takes priority over routine inspections. If you are aware of any such instance related to weights and measurements, please call (334) 240-7133 to report it.

11 COMMENTS

  1. The gasoline pumps at Coosa Mart 3560 HWY 31 S Pelham, AL does not have State Inspection lable them. I don,t know if they have ever been checked.

    Thanks for your attention.

    J W Short

  2. On July 18 I stopped to get gas at the Flying J #604 at 900 Tyson Road in Hope Hull. When the pump shut itself off, I noticed that the amount and total sale continued to increase. I removed the nozzle to see if anything was coming out and nothing was. I watched as it continued for about another dollar. I told the manager and he said they had other reports of that happening. I feel that this station was not being fair to me or others because of this. Please investigate this or let me know who the proper authorities are to report this to.

    Thank you,
    Shawn Tapp

  3. Hi Shawn,

    Thanks for your comment. We suggest you contact the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Weights and Measures Department directly at (334) 240-7133 to report the problem. Hope this helps!

    Rachel Bertone
    Editor

  4. Hi Shawn,

    If you believe there is a problem, please call 334-240-7133 to report it.

    Thanks,
    Jessy Yancey
    editor
    Alabama Agriculture magazine

  5. Question: When gas pumps dispense fuel is the amount measured from the top of the hose at the pump or from the tip of the nozzle. Question generated by the indicator moving before fuel leaves the nozzle and observing customers draining the hose after the pump shuts down. Thanks

  6. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your comment. We suggest you contact the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Weights and Measures Department directly at (334) 240-7133. They should be able to answer your question. Hope this helps!

    Rachel Bertone
    Editor
    Alabama Agriculture

  7. Hi CB,

    Thanks for your comment. We suggest you contact the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Weights and Measures Department directly at (334) 240-7133. They should be able to answer your question. Hope this helps!

    Rachel Bertone
    Editor
    Alabama Agriculture

  8. Texico in Reform Alabama has water in there gas. I filled up today made it 1/2 mile and my car started missfiring lost all power and cut off .. a cop stop told me to add a bottle of heet to disol e water. After 3hrs of trying to crank I made it back to store and it died again. Asked to speak too owner he was asleep in the back told attendent to wake him up in 1 1/2 had car towed to the dealership witch I just bought 2014 dodge challenger .. they showed me the gas was full of water. Contacted cheveron and store noone is willing to help me costing me $340.00 for repairs $43.00 for gas that messed my car up and three days of work $600.00 .. midsouth petroleum in vernon alabama is the supplier. Called them they said send invoice they will handle it still no payment has been made..

  9. Dear Ms. Boshell,
    At 7:45 this evening I purchased a “gallon” of gasoline at the Douglas Discount Food Mart in Douglas, Alabama. I prepaid the clerk $3.00 for this “gallon” of gasoline that was selling for $2.95 a gallon on pump #3. Common sense dictates that I should have received a tiny more than a gallon of gasoline. Such was NOT the case. I dispensed this “gallon” of gasoline into a standard, plastic approved gas can. When the pump cut off it had dispensed gasoline alright but it was an inch BELOW the gallon mark! I brought it to the clerk and he said he did not know why it did not dispense a full gallon. He said his pumps have passed inspection. I took a photograph of the pump and there is no state inspection sticker/seal on it.
    Please have one of your inspectors investigate

  10. Hi David,

    Thanks for your comment. We are a magazine that did an article on the Alabama Weights and Measures division of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, and are not directly affiliated with them. For specific questions, we suggest contacting them directly at (334) 240-7133. Hope this helps!

    Rachel Bertone
    Editor, Alabama Agriculture

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