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Old December 11th, 2008, 09:59 PM posted to,
Mark Brader
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Posts: 346
Default Report from the US, a nice but somewhat backward country.

Frank Slootweg writes:

4. American petrol/gas stations charge what they bloody well like.

While American petrol/gas prices are still ridiculously low compared
to Oz/Europe, prices vary by upto a *factor* of two within a short
distance ...

No, we didn't misread. Trust me, we are *very* careful reading fuel
prices, especially considering we drove/drive 'around the world' in Oz a
couple of times in very thirsty campervans.

What were the two prices? Did you actually fill up at the lower price?
Did the cheaper station have long lines of cars waiting?

I have an alternative theory.

When gas prices in the US rose to unprecedented levels not so long
ago, some older gas stations were *unable* to display the new prices
because there was a limit to the price their pumps could be set to.

This is not the first time this has happened, and one solution I've
heard of them using on earlier occasions was to display 1/2 of the
true price and charge you twice the indicated amount. Very likely
this is illegal, but it might not be considered a big deal so long
as there was a prominent notice explaining what was going on so that
nobody was deceived.

Okay, now imagine a gas station where they've decided to use this
approach and then the notice accidentally falls down, and they get
careless about replacing it -- after all, nobody could believe that
gas was really that cheap, *could they*?

(Similarly in Toronto, a few months ago when a typical price might have
been $1.279 per liter, I saw one station with a sign displaying an amount
like 27.9 -- you were supposed to figure out that it was $1 above that.)
Mark Brader, Toronto | "If you feel [that Doug Gwyn] has a bad attitude,
| then use lint (or Chris Torek...)" --Joe English

My text in this article is in the public domain.