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February 28, 2011

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Gas pump 'jammers' entice motorists

SHADY online vendors are offering a new invention they claim can cut motorists' fuel bills by a fifth - a jamming device to make gas pump meters run slower.

The electronic gizmo, named "the ultimate gas pump jammer," has been retailing for between 980 yuan (US$149) and 2,000 from online stores in recent weeks.

However, local gas station officials say these devices are at best useless and at worst dangerous.

Some of the blockers, which retailers claim send jamming signals to interfere with pump systems, take the form of a palm-sized calculator-type device.

Vendors say these may be hidden in a car and users can adjust the reading on gas pumps by remote control.

"Simply by pressing the button, the device sends strong electronic jamming signals to make the meter run slower for five seconds while not reducing the quantity of gasoline," said a vendor from a Beijing-based electronic product company.

"It could save you at least 20 percent of gasoline costs."

A worker at a gas station on Wenshui Road said he had never come across the device and was confident he could spot one being used.

Another worker, surnamed Wang, said the devices were just "toys" used by vendors to con customers.

Wang added: "Even if the devices can send signals, gas pumps are not equipped with signal receivers so how can the signals reach them?"

Moreover, the jammers could have lethal consequences, warned gas station staff. They could generate static electricity, causing an explosion due to the high density of gasoline in the air of a gas station forecourt.

Local lawyers also warn that it is illegal to sell these devices, as it is related to the theft of gasoline.

Customers' rights would not be protected if they purchased a jammer and found it useless.

And if it worked, customers could also be charged for theft.


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