A team of 13 inspectors from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Standards continues to provide critical consumer protection services during the COVID-19 pandemic and has increased the number of fuel quality checks it conducts across the state, according to a news release.

Fuel sampling procedures have been modified to incorporate COVID-19 health and safety precautions for the protection of the public and inspectors.

“Helping prevent problems caused by contaminated fuel is one way the team at the Department’s Bureau of Standards can help protect Arkansans during this challenging time.” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “I appreciate the extra effort by the Bureau of Standards’ team to help keep consumers safe at the pump,” said Ward.

The Bureau of Standards’ petroleum products section is authorized to collect and test samples of engine fuels, petroleum products, and automotive lubricants marketed in Arkansas for compliance with quality standards. In addition to random spot checks at retail, wholesale, and terminal locations throughout the state, inspectors also collect fuel samples in response to complaints from the public. Samples are analyzed by chemists at the Bureau’s fuel quality lab.

“Water is the most frequent contaminant found in fuel, which can lead to significant and expensive damage to vehicles” said Nik Soman, director of the Bureau of Standards. “The Bureau takes seriously its responsibility to ensure fair and equitable commerce for buyers and sellers in Arkansas, and I encourage the public to use the complaint form on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s webpage to report any marketplace concerns.”

The Bureau received 67 petroleum related complaints in calendar year 2019. The consumer complaint form can be found at https://www.aad.arkansas.gov/bureau-of-standards. Details: www.agriculture.arkansas.gov.