Wireless Watchdogs

State intros wireless method for reporting gas-pump cheaters

By Bruce Felps
|  Thursday, Sep 1, 2011  |  Updated 4:07 PM CDT
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Gas Pump Watchdogs

The fuel feedback stickers look something like this.

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Commentary
by Bruce Felps

The Texas Department of Agriculture, which oversees gasoline retailers, go figure, today rolled out a wireless watchdog program to keep honest retailers honest and catch dishonest, sorry, suspected dishonest retailers in the act.

Commissioner Todd Staples led a demonstration and press conference just a bit ago at a Quik Trip location near Love Field to introduce the program, which needs a catchy name — Stump the Crooked Pump, maybe.

It kind of works like this: The department, about a month ago, distributed special stickers to gas retailers throughout the state. Retailers are required to affix the stickers to all their pumps. A customer pulls up to a given pump, runs the card through the scan thingy, reaches for the hose nozzle, and realizes the pump reads $0.09 before said driver gets the nozzle in the tank. Driver uses his or her smartphone to scan the sticker and transmit its location to a state database. He or she fills the tank, goes in and buys a Coke, and gives the retailer a smug look that says, “You’re in big trouble, buddy.”

The state does its enforcement thing, the retailer demonstrates due contrition and rehabilitation, and we all ease happily on down the road.

Now, about that catchy name, hit the comments section, and, one, two, three … go.


Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. Well, as a gasoline consumer he certainly feels safer. Now all he needs is an iPhone. 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, NBC 5, NBCDFW.com or its employees.

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