• May 7, 2008
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]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was just in an area similar to this. The price of premium unleaded was $4.40 a gallon. The pumps read $2.20 a gallon and the station owner multiplied by 2.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My thoughts exactly...it's too simple for some folks to figure out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This happened in the seventies when a lot of gas stations had pumps that could not go above 99.9 cents per gallon. I remember a some stations switch to liters since the pumps could do 99.9 cents per liter.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why don't those gas stations just say cash only and disable the CC readers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What are you talking about? There are no CC readers.

        The station wants to sell more than $3.99 9/10 per gallonn and can't because the pump doesn't go higher.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed.

        The article states that the pumps were made "Before" it was as simple as swiping your card and pumping the fuel. It also says at the end of the post that the station owners are just doing it the old-fashioned way and multiplying the # of gallons by the price.

        So, it sounds to me as though they are making it cash only. You may still be able to charge it, you just can't do it at the pump like you can most places now with the newer pumps.

        Pretty simple really when you read and understand the post.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can they buy used digital pumps? I have seen a lot of gas stations replacing old digital pumps with new ones.

      I remember about 15 years ago, I have seen new gas stations being built and was surprised to see them use mechanical pumps.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is a gas station near my house that just put up digital price boards.

      They will go up to $19.99/gallon - and I don't think that is foolish in the least as the business owner.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OH! Jig is up, guys- with this they can't possibly charge more than 4 dollars... Might as well start crankin' that price down there, Big Oil.

      /if only
      • 6 Years Ago
      that makes ~$1/litre.. you lucky bastards.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Where do you not just swipe your card and get premium gasoline?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What I meant is that the article implied that there are places where it is more difficult than swiping your card at the pump. I know not all gas stations, especially ones in more remote areas, bother selling premium fuels. I too spend a lot of time in the mountains, where the closest gas station to my place is remote enough where the gas has cost as much as it does now since 2002/3.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Many places. They also are usually accompanied by scenic views and clean air.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The parts to upgrade these pumps are backordered for months nation wide. I was going to have two old gas pumps restored but the wait for the fix was just too long.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My rice vending machine is broken, too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I wish gas was sold by the liter
      • 6 Years Ago
      Microsoft never thought hard drive space would be larger than 137GB when they released Windows XP. And they're suppose to be innovators and push for innovation.

      You need the service pack to use that 1TB drive.
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