(MOBILE, Ala.) - You've heard the stories. Gas mixed with water.
Pumps programmed to short you. But are any of the rumors true?
"They don't know when I'm coming."
That's the man in charge of keeping everything on the up and up. Teddy Shepherd, Alabama State Gas Inspector.
"Checking quality, quantity. Just a hundred-percent consumer protection," says Shepherd.
Hundreds of gas pumps under his watch. He tests for water in the gas. He's also making sure the pump's giving you the full amount.
Shepherd investigates dozens of complaints a year. He says the average he gets is around 80 complaints per year. But for the most part, everything checks out.
Shepherd also says it's impossible for a gas station owner to rig a pump. He explains that a bad pump is because of bad maintenance, not a greedy gas station owner.
"They could be givin' away fuel just as easy," He explains.
In his 15 years, Shepherd hasn't found a single gas station owner intentionally mixing water in gas.
This Prichard gas station with water in its tanks had customers up in arms. One driver was showing other customers what she said mechanics had pulled out of her tank. It was a bottle that looked like mostly water, mixed with a little gas.
But Shepherd says the water was from a busted irrigation system…hit by a copper thief.
"They wouldn't do anything intentionally, because it would hurt their reputation."
If the pump is good, there's a sticker in the shape of Alabama saying when it was last inspected.
If it's bad, Shepherd tags it with a red tag and the pump is shut down.
"I use about 100 red tags a year," Shepherd says.
Here's another myth: is cheaper gas, bad quality?
The state gas inspector says all local gas comes from the same two local refineries.
Big-name stations like Shell and Exxon-Mobil charge more for additives they dump in after purchasing the oil, which they claim get you better mileage.