Swipe Your Driver’s License for $10 of Free Gas-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A viral video says you can get $10 in free gas by swiping your driver’s license at the gas pump because that’s how money left over from primary election campaign funds is being divvied up.
A rumor that you can get $10 in free gas when you swipe your driver’s license is false.
A video posted on Facebook that made that claim had been viewed more than 2.5 million times a week after it was posted on April 19. In the video, a man swipes his Texas driver’s license and then supposedly pumps $10 worth of “free” gas. He explains that the free gas is how leftover campaign funds from primary elections are divvied up.
The first clue that this video is a hoax is that the gas pump’s card reader beeps with an invalid card alert after the man swipes his driver’s license. That means the reader was unable to process his card.
The second clue that Chet Johnson, the man who posted the video, was using not-so-subtle slight of hand is that he doesn’t show the gas pump’s message display screen on the video before he swiped his card. That obviously means the “$10 Prepaid” message on it was almost certainly there even before he swiped his card.
And when viewers of the video commented that could get $10 in free gas from swiping their driver’s license, Johnson egged them on by saying he’d heard “you had to be a registered to vote for it to work.”
In reality, the trick didn’t work because the video is a hoax.
The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has very specific rules for unused campaign funds, and divvying them out in $10 worth of free gas isn’t part of it. Mental Floss explains:
Here’s what a campaign committee is allowed to do with any lingering cash: it can donate the funds to charities or political parties; it can contribute $2000 per election to other candidates; and it can save the money in case the candidate chooses to run again. However, those regulations don’t apply to the relatively new super PACs (Political Action Committees); this is only the second election where they have played a role, and there are currently no rules to stipulate what happens to that money beyond that it cannot go to fund another federal candidate. Much of that money tends to be returned to its original donors, used to wrap up the failed campaign, or donated to back a state-level candidate. The goal, however, is always to spend all of that money.
Besides that, primary elections weren’t over when the video went viral, so there aren’t weren’t any “left over primary election funds” to speak of.
For all those reasons, we’re calling this one fiction.