Gasoline Marketing:

States' Programs for Pump Labeling of Gasoline Ingredients

RCED-89-6: Published: Jan 12, 1989. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO surveyed states concerning their gasoline pump labelling practices to determine whether a need existed for a federal uniform pump label.

GAO found that: (1) 39 of the 50 states required that pump labels disclose one or more gasoline ingredients; (2) most of the requirements concerned the disclosure of fuel alcohol content; (3) most of the states required the labels for consumer protection; (4) states' pump labelling requirements usually specified the minimum volume of alcohol and the lettering and location of the label on the pump; (5) states varied in their enforcement of the requirements, such as fines, closures, and warnings; and (6) 22 of the 39 states were satisfied with their programs and did not want any changes, 9 states said they needed changes, and 8 states were either uncertain or had no basis to determine whether they needed changes. GAO also found that: (1) of the 50 respondents, 24 favored, 13 opposed, and 13 remained uncertain about a federal uniform label; (2) supporters of the uniform label liked the uniformity, while detractors had concerns about enforcement or preemption of state laws; and (3) although many states commented on what the label should list, there was no consensus evident from their responses.

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