FACT CHECK: Viral Image Of Costco ‘Blame Joe Biden’ Gas Pump Screen Is Digitally Edited

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Costco gas pump displaying a message that reads, “Don’t blame us. Blame Joe Biden.”

Verdict: False

Digital photo forensics confirm the image has been digitally edited. A Costco spokesperson denied the company shared such a message.

Fact Check:

The average national gas price reached a record high of $4.67 a gallon June 1, up 48 cents in the past month, according to CNN. Seven U.S. states now have an average price over $5, with California averaging $6.19 per gallon, the outlet reports.

The Facebook image, shared over 12,000 times, allegedly shows the screen of a Costco gas pump that shows a price of $147.34 for 26 gallons of gasoline. “Don’t blame us. Blame Joe Biden,” reads a message displayed on the screen.”

“Forget stickers. Costco just went digital,” the post’s caption states, seemingly referring to the popular “I did that” sticker that has appeared on gas pumps across the country.

The image is digitally edited. The Error Level Analysis (ELA) tool on Forensically, an image forensics tool, reveals the text on the screen is not genuine. (RELATED: Is Diesel Projected To Reach $9 A Gallon By August?)

Michael Primeau, an audio and video forensic expert at Primeau Forensics, confirmed the image appeared to be edited. “The image is displaying errors of authenticity,” he told Check Your Fact. “Looking at the text… It indicated a potential overlay from the Error Level Analysis,” Primeau explained. “This image has been processed at several different points.”

Additionally, there appears to be an error in the image in which the word “Yes” can be seen floating above the display screen. The placement may be an overlapping mistake made while using a digital editing program, according to Lead Stories.

“The Costco gas station post/image you are referring to is not affiliated with or approved by Costco,” a spokesperson for Costco confirmed in an emailed statement to Check Your Fact.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter