While the recent AA report that some pumps in the UK are giving away 4.4% more petrol than shown on the dial may be overstating the case – and based on a few extreme examples – there is an underlying problem here that has been in the industry for years, according to Phil Prow, sales and marketing director of Vianet Fuel Solutions (VFS).

“There is no need for forecourts to get to the extremes that the AA has quoted for over-dispensing pumps to have a serious effect on profit. Just two nozzles selling 3000 litres per week each, over-dispensing by as little as 0.25% can cost £800 in lost profits over the course of a year.

“With profit margins below 2%, no-one can afford this.”

To tackle the problem Phil Prow is urging retailers to have their pumps checked regularly, and not to wait for local Weights and Measures departments to point this out.

“In our experience, people often think because the W&M report is OK that they don’t have a problem, but W&M is only really interested in pumps that are significantly under-dispensing. They are under no obligation to tell you if they are over-dispensing; particularly if that is by only a small amount. However, what is a small amount to them may add up to a significant hit on profits.

“There are a number of reputable companies that can perform pump-meter checks for a lot less than the potential profit loss. VFS, for example can carry out a full site meter accuracy test and calibration, including adjustment and re-stamping, at an all-in fee starting at £350 per site. Compare this to potential losses and it is obvious that not doing this regularly is a false economy.”