Watch for “pump jump” next time you fill your tank

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INDIANAPOLIS — When you pump gas, how often do you look at the machine to make sure it says zero before you start?

One Indianapolis woman swiped her card to fill her tank this week in Broad Ripple and noticed she’d been charged before she even started pumping the gas.

“I put my card in the pump and I was ready to pick up the pump handle and I noticed there was already four cents on there, so I pushed the button again thinking it might reset and it didn’t,” said Becky Richardson. ”

It was 5 a.m. and she didn’t see an attendant inside the gas station. A bit nervous outside alone in the early morning hours, she didn’t know what to do so she filled her tank.

“I notified the Weights and Measures Department at the city and they told me I had just experienced the phenomenon called pump jump,” said Richardson. “I was shocked.”

The city’s Weights and Measures Department says if this happens to you, immediately hang up the nozzle before pumping any gas and go inside and ask for a refund. The attendant should reset the pump to zero.

The second you pull the nozzle and fuel dispenses, you’re out of luck. Your receipt won’t be able to show the amount of “jump” that occurred.

Each gas station is responsible for having its pumps calibrated and the city inspects them once a year.

The Weights and Measures Department says most often gas pumps operate without failure but with frequent price changes and human error, pump jump is possible.  It doesn’t occur often, but if it does, it’s important to ask for a refund immediately and call 327-FUEL to report it.

You can also send an email through the Weights and Measures website.

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