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National Weights and Measures Week – making sure you get what you pay for

Toledo Scale

National Weights and Measures Week is March 1-7

Scenario 1 –  You’re at the gas station.  You push the button for premium gasoline and pay an extra ten cents per gallon to pump fifteen gallons into the tank.  Did you get the amount and quality that you paid for?

Scenario 2 –  You use your phone to request Uber to take you to the airport.  The car that arrives isn’t a taxicab and there’s no meter.  You get an email receipt when you get to the airport that shows time and distance, an exact route map, and total fare.  Is this accurate?

Scenario 3 –  You are considering purchasing an electric vehicle but you realize you won’t be able to do all your charging at home.  When you access a public charging station, how will you know that the cost per kilowatt hour and/or parking is computed correctly?

All of these examples fall within the regulatory responsibility of CDFA’s Division of Measurement Standards, which takes its mission to ensure consumer protection and fair competition among businesses very seriously.

In collaboration with the 58 county departments of weights and measures throughout California, all commercial measuring devices and commercial transactions are tested and scrutinized for fairness and accuracy, ensuring neither buyer nor seller has an unfair advantage.  Fuel and automotive product quality has long been the purview of the Division, and continuous marketplace oversight gives consumers the confidence that although they cannot see what’s dispensed, it meets California’s rigorous standards.

The Division is continually expanding its scope and capabilities as new technology demands evaluation.  New vehicle fuels like hydrogen and electricity, cloud computing software applications, and GPS calculations for time and distance may be intimidating, but weights and measures officials are behind the scenes every day to protect the users of these emerging platforms.  It’s our responsibility to facilitate developing technologies while certifying their suitability,  accuracy, and reliability, so that fairness in the marketplace is maintained.


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