Sunday, May 20, 2007


Pet peeve: gasoline prices

No, I'm not going to complain about how high gasoline prices have gotten (even though they're considerably higher here in San Diego than the national average). My complaint is far more trivial, though it's something that's been annoying me for many years.

Gasoline prices are never whole numbers of cents per gallon. There's always an extra .9 cent tacked on. For example, the last time I bought gasoline, I paid $3.419 per gallon. Why not charge $3.41 or $3.42?

There's a long tradition of prices ending in 9, or 99, or $0.95, or whatever. It makes some sense from the seller's point of view; a price of, say, $9.95, if you're not paying attention, can seem like it's significantly less than $10.00. And back when gasoline was around $0.30 per gallon, a price of $0.299 did make some minimal sense. But when it's over $3 per gallon and fluctuating daily, knocking a tenth of a cent off the price doesn't fool anybody.

Any gas station that starts quoting prices in whole numbers of cents per gallon will get my business -- if it's not too expensive, and if it's not too far out of my way.

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