UST Tanks

UST Tanks

The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) held its 2018 interim (nonvoting) meeting Jan. 21 – 24 in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Several issues of importance to PEI members were on the agenda.

Credit card skimmers took center stage at the meeting, with Florida enforcement officials leading technical presentations and conducting a “skimmer field trip” to educate attendees on the growing danger these devices present to retailers and consumers alike.

The statistics in Florida—which is widely regarded as ground zero for skimmer fraud—are staggering. In 2017, inspectors located and removed 654 skimmers in the Sunshine State. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, an average skimmer captures 100 credit card numbers and causes a loss of $1,000 on each card. If these estimates are accurate, skimmer fraud in Florida topped $65 million in 2017.

The sophistication of today’s skimmers is only increasing the danger. Cellular-enabled skimmers now capture and transmit credit card data in real time. Once the device is in place, the thieves no longer have to return to the site to harvest the data. At the interim meeting, Florida regulators introduced a proposal to require additional safeguards against unauthorized dispenser access, thereby making it more difficult for the bad guys to install skimmers. The proposal was referred to committee for further development.

Two proposals discussed in St. Pete Beach appear headed to a vote at this summer’s annual NCWM meeting.

One is designed to clarify E15 dispenser labeling requirements. The cause of the confusion? Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines consider E15 a flex fuel, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies the blend as gasoline. NCWM delegates will seek to resolve the conflict this summer.

Also likely to be voted on is a proposal to require that every retail fuel receipt identify the dispenser used for the transaction in addition to the price per gallon and number of gallons dispensed. This change would help weights and measures officials more easily check the site’s payment systems. Fuel customers also would be able to quickly confirm the accuracy of their receipts.

Another proposal to lower the maximum allowable water level in underground storage tanks (USTs) from 1 inch to 0.25 inch was removed from the docket and is unlikely to make a return anytime soon. Although reducing water in USTs is a worthy goal, three offsetting concerns won the day in St. Pete Beach:

  • The costs for retailers to comply with the stricter standard;
  • Questions about whether today’s technologies can make such a precise measurement;
  • Doubts that reducing the water level will substantially decrease microbial contamination.

The 103rd annual NCWM meeting will be held July 15 - 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you are planning to attend, be sure to drop by PEI’s headquarters to say hello.