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$4 A Gallon Gas: The Gas Pump Version of Y2K

U.S. service station (1950s)Image via Wikipedia

There’s a story in the Seattle PI about how some rural gas stations in Washington State are running into a problem: they can’t display the actual cost of gasoline anymore! Old pumps that have dials that display the cost of fuel were not designed to have a price set any higher than $3.99 and 9/10 of a cent per gallon.

This creates a problem: fuel at some of these stations is over $4 a gallon now and they are unable to display the proper price, which is actually in violation of state laws! Station owners are having trouble obtaining affordable replacement pumps.

The good news is that state inspectors understand the situation and, assuming the station owners are making good-faith efforts to rectify the situation and clearly explain the situation to customers with appropriate signage, are looking the other way for the moment.

The good news is that these gas pumps are merely display devices. Payment is collected separately and can thus be a multiple of the gas price displayed on the pump, which is exactly what the station owners are doing.

One can hope that gas prices will eventually fall, but I have my doubts. I just hope those gas station owners get their updated gas pumps soon.


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