Ministry plan will pump up gas standards

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Ministry plan will pump up gas standards

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced yesterday the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) will correct systemic errors so consumers get a more accurate amount of gas.

The government allows a 0.75 percent error at the gas pump to compensate for changes in petrol volume due to temperature. For 20 liters (5.3 gallons), a deficit of 150 milliliters is acceptable.

However, KATS said the allowable margin will be reduced to 0.5 percent starting in 2015. The nation’s industrial standard regulator said it will form a research group that includes consumer agencies to formulate details of the plan. Until next March, the group will collect samples from 100 randomly selected stations.

For new gas pumps, KATS said it will implement a security system to prevent manipulation of software. Similar measures will be taken for existing pumps. These security technologies will be implemented starting in the second half of next year.

The punishment for manipulation of gas pumps will be a fine of 200 million won ($180,000) and a maximum of three years in jail or an additional 50 million won fine. The government will also tighten qualification standards for gas pump repairmen, while increasing mandated inspections for stations to every two years from the current three.

Since the government launched a massive investigation cracking down on “fake gasoline,” cases of inaccurate gasoline readings have been increasing in recent years. According to data from the Korea Petroleum Quality & Distribution Authority, the number of cases of pump tampering increased to 74 last year from an annual average of about 13.

The authority estimates the cost to consumers at 60 billion won a year.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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