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Petro-Canada Pump Calibration

Canadasgasstation72 You may have seen recent news stories about gas pump accuracy. The stories originate with an Ottawa Citizen investigation; the original articles can be found here and here.

Given the recent coverage, we thought you might be interested in Petro-Canada’s pump calibration practices.

We’ve developed a pretty disciplined approach to pump maintenance – one that goes above and beyond government requirements – to help ensure our equipment is properly calibrated and functioning well. For example:

  • A regularly scheduled calibration program is performed on all Petro-Canada pumping equipment. The vast majority of our sites are tested every year, while other sites are handled every two years.
  • In testing pump accuracy, Measurement Canada’s tolerance is a 100ml variance (per 20 litres); Petro-Canada’s tolerance is 20ml – about four teaspoons full. That means if the dispenser is off by more than a day's worth of cough syrup when it's tested, we have the pump recalibrated. 
  • Petro-Canada only uses approved service providers to conduct calibration testing and pump maintenance.
  • Our associates monitor each site’s inventory daily (i.e. they compare what’s been sold to what remains in the underground tanks). And once per month, we have auditors who verify the associates’ data. Deviations are thus detected, and responded to immediately.

This approach is mandatory at our 800 (approximately) “company-owned” gas stations. There are about 500 “independent” Petro-Canada stations who have the responsibility to ensure they follow proper calibration practices, with our encouragement.

This approach has also delivered results. Here’s what the Citizen had to say:

“Petro-Canada also monitors gas levels at its stations and recalibrates the pumps at most of its 800 company-owned stations annually, with a small percentage being checked out every two years. The more rigorous inspections appear to pay off. In 2006 and 2007 inspections, stations operating under the Petro-Canada brand showed measurement errors against the consumer well below the national average, according to inspection records.”

Overall, it’s pretty simple: customers deserve to get what they pay for. And we do our best to make that happen.

Photo credit: Petro-Canada Image Gallery


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I don`t believe all your pumps are in good shape. every other time I gas up, the pumps will not give a receipt. I have to go inside the store. One time the pump quit, I was told to stand in line and wait. Why did the pump quit? Why are the pumps always out of paper.
What else is being neglected?


marcel m

I would like to know how to complain about a station. I filled my little 9.46 Lit/ 2.5 U.S. GAL Jug to the line where it shows to fill to. 9.46 liters. the pump showed 10.771 liters
1.349 per lit paid 14.53.

how can the pump be off that much??


Thanks for your comment Marcel and we're sorry to hear about your inconvenience. Let us help explain why there may have been a discrepancy: gas pump meters count the volume of fuel delivered to a customer at a specific temperature – 15 degrees C. Unfortunately, a typical plastic, off-the-shelf gas can will not provide accuracy for several reasons, most importantly because the fuel in the can will likely not be at 15 degrees C and often the plastic can bulges or contracts depending on the surrounding temperature (allowing for more or less fuel).

We hope this helps clarify the discrepancy. But just to be sure, would you mind letting us know the location of the station so we can check when the pumps were last calibrated for accuracy?

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