HARRISBURG -- The state House voted 195-2 today to approve a bill giving the state Agriculture Department authority to do random, unannounced tests of octane levels in gasoline sold in the state.
Pennsylvania is one of only three states (Alaska and Nebraska the others) that doesn't now have an octane testing program.
The measure, Senate Bill 341, sponsored by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, "is a common sense consumer protection measure whose time has come," said Ted Leonard, executive director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation.
The Agriculture Department already has the power to annually inspect gasoline pumps for accuracy, but it can't test for levels of octane.
Random and periodic tests for octane "will protect state motorists from overpaying for improperly marked octane levels and for vehicle damage caused by contaminated gasoline," Mr. Leonard said.
Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Monroeville, sponsored the bill in the House. The bill now returns to the Senate for final action and then goes to Gov. Tom Corbett for signature.
"Consumers should have state government assurance that they are getting what they pay for at the gas pump," said Mr. Greenleaf. "They should not be short-changed."
Support for the octane testing was bipartisan.
Besides Mr. Greenleaf and Mr. Markosek, the Republican and Democratic chairmen of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair, and Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Westmoreland, "were instrumental in getting this legislation through the House," Mr. Leonard said.
Without their support, added AAA spokesman Brian Newbacher, "This important bill wouldn't have seen the light of day."
Tom Barnes: email@example.com.