Gas prices soaring as summer heats up - - Jackson, MS

Are you getting the gas you pay for at the pump?

RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Gas prices shot up as much as 20 cents a gallon from Tuesday night to the next morning in the metro area. Some blame the crises in Egypt, but others think it's the oil companies taking advantage of peak driving season.

"Every two weeks we probably spend like a $100," said Angela McDonald of Byram.

If it seems gasoline is costing more every time you fill up this month, it's not your imagination. The average price for a gallon of regular gas nationwide rose two cents overnight Tuesday to $3.65, a five week high.

"The rates we are paying for gas now are not reflecting what they are charging you at the pump. So I just think it's all about profit, about taking advantage of the travelers, and I feel they would benefit more if they would stay consistent throughout the year and not just hike the prices up because of the holidays," said Jeffrey McDonald, also of Byram.

According to AAA's daily fuel gauge report, that's 15 cents more than we were paying just a week ago and 25 cents more than this time last year.

"I think it's too high. I think they need to go down. I think a lot of people are gonna be hurt bad," add Linda Blanco of Nashville, Tennessee.

Experts blame rising oil prices which are up 10% just this month.

"I am not really understanding why there is such a difference in some stations compared to others. But we just do what we have to do," said Harvey Magee of Brookhaven.

The price for unleaded regular at the Texaco station on Old Fannin Road went up 20 cents a gallon in one day.

With prices on the rise, how do you know you are actually getting the amount of gas you pay for at the pump? You might be surprised to know, there's a state agency checking the pumps.

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce does 52,000 inspections each year on 72,000 devices. It's all to make sure the consumer is not being cheated.

About half of the time they find the amount of gas received is more than what the pump indicated. They usually get about 300 complaints a year, which are checked by 11 inspectors statewide.

"We go out there and make sure the consumer is getting what they think they are getting, and also the quality they are expecting," said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde Smith. "We check octane levels, we check to see if there is water in the tank. We check flash points, it's our responsibility at the Department of Agriculture to make sure everything is accurate and where it needs to be."

These inspectors will take a five-gallon can and physically measure to see if the pump, which indicates it has pumped five gallons, is actually doing so.

Vaughan Gresham is one of the inspectors.

"We run into some that are a little bit off calibration," Gresham said. "We give them a violation and give them a chance to get it repaired, and we will go back and re-check them."

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