Why Do Gas Stations Bother Adding 9/10 of a Penny In Gas Prices?
Gas prices are so weird.
It's funny, when I was a kid, right up through most of my adulthood, gas prices were pretty stable, if not boring. When I was like 11 or 12, gas was about a buck a gallon. I remember in my 20's, it worked it's way up about a couple dozen cents to land around $1.25 a gallon. But by 2003, gas prices have been bananas forever since then.
For real. I remember by 2006/2007 we were seeing prices up over $4.00 a gallon like right now. Then it went down, now it's back up. Even when it went down, it never went back down where it started, ever. Now we're jumping for joy at gas prices that are still over $4.00. But there's something even more confusing than that.
You do realize you're basically always paying a penny more than it says, right?
Yup. Take a good look at the sign next time you pull in to a gas station. In numbers big enough to read from Venus, it'll say something like $4.25 a gallon. But if you look closely, you'll usually see right next to the price, in numbers so small they're practically invisible, the fraction 9/10.
This means you're not actually paying just $4.25. You're actually paying more like $4.26 a gallon. That fraction equals almost a whole cent more. It's not much, but it ain't the $4.25 you're thinking it is either. On a full tank, you could be getting $.13 less gas than you though. It's not much, but you're still not getting all the gas you think you are.
How and why do they get away with such bizarre pricing?
Well, there's no law against it because they are listing the true price. It's basically marketing smoke and mirrors. It's like when you buy anything. The price says $4.99 for something, and your mind will always think you're getting a better deal than if the price tag said $5.00.
They're basically using the same premise for gas, according to WGME. Plus, back when gas was pennies a gallon 100 years ago, a one cent price hike was substantial. so they came up with the additional tenths of a penny in the price. It kept perception in place. Kinda sketchy, but there's the business world for you. Especially the gas mongers..