Machines are only as smart as their creators, which doesn't say much about gas pump manufacturers in the mid-1990s. A report from Washington reveals that at least 12 gas stations in the state are using pumps not 13 years old that are unable to display and calculate a price of gas higher than $3.99 9/10 per gallon. These pumps were produced before everything went digital and you could simply slide your AmEx into the little slot to pay for your premium petrol. They use a mechanical computer with gears to calculate the price of gas, and the cost of retrofitting them to account for the current reality of $4+/gallon gasoline amounts to $8,500 in upgrades according to one station owner, if he could even find the parts since they're all on back order.

Just like computer engineers couldn't imagine that their little machines would last until Y2K, the mechanical engineers who designed these pumps back in 1995 when gas was the equivalent of $1.60/gallon apparently couldn't imagine a day in 2008 when dead dino juice would be this expensive. Unfortunately for customers who patron stations with this antiquated equipment, they aren't getting their fuel for the price advertised on the pump. Rather, the state's Weights and Measures program is giving these businesses extra time to upgrade or replace their pumps as long as the actual price of gas is clearly displayed and customers get an explanation of what's going. For now they're doing it the old fashioned way, by multiplying the gallons pumped by the price on the sign. Thanks for the tip, bojac!

[Source: Seattlepi via Fashion Funky]