LOS ANGELES (CN) – Big gas companies installed single-nozzle gas pumps that save them money but cheat consumers by mixing grades of gas they dispense, a class claims in Federal Court. Lead plaintiff Jonathan Alvarez says Chevron, Exxon-Mobile, BP, Shell, and Valero all replaced their three-nozzle system with a single nozzle that dispenses all three grades of gas.
The new dispensers are cheaper for the companies to install and maintain, the class claims. They also let the companies downsize to two separate underground tanks, since the dispenser can blend regular and premium gas to create a midrange fuel.
However, the class says, the new dispensers leave about a quarter of a gallon of gas in the line after each purchase. That means customers buying premium fuel are allegedly also getting a bit of regular – at the premium price.
The companies should have installed dispensers with vacuums that process the residual 0.2 to 0.3 gallon of gas, the class claims. That technology is available, but “is not widely implemented,” according to the complaint.
The class demands more than $5 million in damages. It is represented by Michael Kelly with Kirtland & Packard.