Fueling trust: Tested fuel quality & quantity at an IOCL petrol pump

IOC has a precise online monitoring system to prevent scams and they are ensuring that even remote stations are hooked up to the system.

BHPian thirdmainroad recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Been meaning to do a filter paper and quantity check at the IOC petrol bunk I frequent. Got around to doing it today. I went in with guns blazing, expecting to face resistance for asking to do so. To my surprise they immediately agreed and the pump attendant came back with the manager, a filter paper and a 5 liter can in no time. The manager and the attendants were really quite excited and happy that I had asked for the test and went about the testing process.

I tested on XP95, which I usually fill. The filter paper test seemed to pass with flying colours – there was not even an inkling of a stain on the paper. The next test, the 5 liter test also passed with flying colours and the quantity touched the five liter mark to the dot!

The manager then requested they take a photo of me getting the tests done. He lamented that not enough people ask for the test, and even when they request customers to let them test in front of them, customers run away saying they are in a hurry.

As Team BHPians – we do represent a bit of the elite – tech savvy, educated, can I request all of you to do these tests once in a while as responsible citizens?

That said, the manager of the bunk I tested at told me about how difficult it has become for retail outlets to cheat with quality and quantity as IOC has a precise online monitoring system now and they are ensuring that even remote stations are hooked up to the system. He also said that IOC has very frequent surprise checks – infact they had been subjected to two tests in one week very recently.

Bunk where I had tested – IOC bunk at Vettuvankeni, next to SBI bank, opposite Buhari, Chennai, ECR.

I am now keen to test at more pumps, especially on the highway!

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

True. The entire system is automated and is monitored remotely, and there really isn’t much scope for dealers to indulge in malpractice. At the same time, there can be genuine issues like water seperation from ethanol blended petrol.

Here’s what BHPian vigsom had to say on the matter:

I’ve done a filter paper test once in Trichy in the 80s, but it wasn’t until 2021-22 that I decided to do a can test, this time in Vadodara. I’d normally fill at a leading BPCL outlet in Alkapuri and never had complaints until that day when the pump was dispensing at approx. 20% of its normal rate because of some issue related to power supply. After I filled the typical quantity and left, I realized that the gauge hadn’t responded proportionately. I say this ‘coz I’d fill the same quantity at the same gauge level and knew how much the gauge should rise.

I returned after a 2km drive to tell them this in their office. The staff there were giving me the usual explanation about their Q&Q being perfect and that the gauge on my car was defective. I told them to reserve their intelligent judgements to themselves and asked to see the owner. He was a little more understanding and assured me there was no issue with their dispensing mechanism even at the lower rate. I however asked for five liters in their standard measure and told him I was willing to pay for that. He readily agreed and said that I needn’t take those five liters. By that time, the dispensing was back to over half the normal rate, and although the can didn’t take the full five liters (was probably short by approx. 200ml or so), I didn’t take the case forward and left, realizing that it wasn’t my day. I continued to visit the bunk thereafter and never had any issues, but that batch that I’d filled that day gave me approx. 10% lower range – same driver, same vehicle, same quantity, same traffic conditions. There definitely was some problem in dispensing/calibration but it wasn’t my day so I couldn’t prove it.

Here’s what BHPian TejasV had to say on the matter:

SCAM ALERT: I know a team that does audit for company owned company operated (COCO) pumps and they say the local managements have become innovative in how the dupe – and its never by adulteration. They do it by reducing the amount of fuel dispensed by the machine. And they do not reduce fuel dispensing rates for for round figure litres.. like say 1 litre or 5 litres which you can fill in a bottle or can and check.

What they apparently do is to calibrate for lesser fuel dispensation for popular round figures of payment like Rs.1000 or Rs.500 etc. So instead of getting petrol worth Rs.1000 the machine dispenses maybe Rs.900 worth of fuel only and one way to overcome it is to pick an odd price like Rs.1550 worth of fuel or ask for exact number of litres worth of fuel it seems.

I think it is true as I was getting lower mileage when I filled for Rs.3000 in my car but didn’t see a drop when I did a tankful.

PS: And they are always willing to test for purity or quantity with the one litre empty water bottle they have – so I think the modus operandi that the audit team has shared has some merit.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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