Fact Check

Did a Costco Gas Pump Say, 'Don't Blame Us. Blame Joe Biden'?

The message was supposedly documented in a photo of a Costco Wholesale gas pump displaying a Kirkland Fuel logo and a total of $147.34 for 26.458 gallons purchased.

Published May 31, 2022

Consumers pump gas at a Costco gasoline station on May 11, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. - Fears the shutdown of a major fuel pipeline would cause a gasoline shortage led to some panic buying and prompted US regulators on May 11, 2021 to temporarily suspend clean fuel requirements in three eastern states and the nation's capital. A ransomware attack Friday on Colonial Pipeline forced the company to shut down its entire network, though industry experts say any shortages will be temporary. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage / AFP) (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images) (ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
Image Via ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images
Claim:
A photo showing a Costco gas pump screen with the words, "Don't blame us. Blame Joe Biden," is genuine.

Fact Check

In late May 2022, a picture was shared to social media that showed a Costco Wholesale gas pump screen with the words, "Don't blame us. Blame Joe Biden." It was often shared in posts with captions such as, "Costco knows what's up," and "Forget stickers. Costco just went digital." The latter caption referred to the fact that some supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump had placed stickers on gas pumps with current President Joe Biden's face that read, "I did that!"

The picture of the Costco gas pump screen showed two options for the message that both read "Yes," instead of one for "Yes" and one for "No." These two options are often included on gas pump screens to ask if customers are interested in receiving a printed receipt. The screen showed a total of $147.34 for 26.458 gallons purchased. While some users may have believed that a tech-savvy person reprogrammed the screen, a quick review of the photograph showed that it had been doctored, likely with Adobe Photoshop.

Readers asked us about the picture. We went searching for the social media posts that had the most interactions. On May 24, it was shared to Twitter and received more than 1,000 likes:

We noticed that the "Blame Joe Biden" Costco photograph was also shared to Facebook several times. One post from May 27 received more than 12,000 shares in just four days.

According to FotoForensics.com, a website that allows users to examine an image to see if it's been altered, the picture was indeed doctored. This may have been obvious to some readers, as the words about Biden didn't appear to be in the correct perspective from where the camera captured the photograph of the Costco gas pump screen.

There's also an extra "Yes" that was left behind above the screen, which appeared to be in the same font as the words on the screen. A report from LeadStories.com noted that the extra "Yes" was positioned in the exact center of the picture, both horizontally and vertically. This meant that the person who doctored the photograph had likely pasted a new layer in Adobe Photoshop and forgot to move or delete it, since pasting a new layer can place it in the dead center.

This basically served as a dead giveaway that the picture had been altered.

A picture of a Costco Kirkland Fuel gas pump supposedly said don't blame us blame Joe Biden with two options for yes.
This extra, floating "Yes," which we circled above, appeared to be a mistake by the person who doctored the picture.

In sum, no, a Costco gas pump screen did not actually read, "Don't blame us," nor did it say, "Blame Joe Biden." It was a doctored picture.

Sources:

Frankel, Todd C. “After Another Massacre, One Gunmaker Maintains a Familiar Silence.” Washington Post, 29 May 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/05/29/uvalde-rifle-gunmaker-morality/.

@iamdakota007. Twitter, 20 May 2022, https://twitter.com/iamdakota007/status/1527861211307593728.

@marc_benton. Twitter, https://twitter.com/marc_benton/status/1529272813424476160.

Schwedel, Heather. “The People Behind the Joe Biden Sticker That Has Colonized America’s Gas Pumps.” Slate, 11 Mar. 2022, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/03/joe-biden-i-did-that-gas-pump-stickers-prices.html.

@thenwmagpie. Twitter, 29 May 2022, https://twitter.com/thenwmagpie/status/1531125668812951552.

@theonewhodid_it. Twitter, 29 May 2022, https://twitter.com/theonewhodid_it/status/1530977454159962112.

Thompson, Sarah. “Fact Check: Costco Digital Gas Pump Screen Did NOT Display ‘Blame Joe Biden’ Message -- It’s An Altered Image.” Lead Stories, 31 May 2022, https://leadstories.com/hoax-alert/2022/05/fact-check-costco-digital-gas-pump-screen-did-not-display-blame-joe-biden-message.html.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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