I don’t have to tell you that it’s been difficult for drivers across the country to save at the pump in recent months. According to AAA’s gas price tracker, the national average is currently sitting at $4.18 per gallon. Now, what if you could fill your tank for $0.41 per gallon. Would you tell the cashier or the station’s owner? Some drivers in Chattanooga, Tennessee got a bit of unintended respite from the high prices last month. And yes, someone did tell the owner.
In April, a Shell station in Chattanooga sold fuel at a tenth of the intended price for five hours. A misplaced decimal point seemingly caused the technical error. The pricing error wasn’t noticed until a customer reported it to the station owner. In an interview with WRCB, local insurance agent Hank DeHart said, “One of the pumps I stopped and got premium for my wife’s car. I wasn’t even really looking at the price because I didn’t want to. And I went to hang it back up and I realized I had pumped 12 gallons and it only charged me $5.” Yes, DeHart was charged only $0.45 per gallon.
DeHart didn’t hesitate to report the error and sympathized with the station owner. He added, “Yeah, the big oil they are fine. But you know, this guy lives in this neighborhood, owns a business here in Chattanooga or East Ridge, so he’s a local person. He’s not a big corporation, you know?” As much as I hate to admit it, DeHart is correct. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, the average retail markup over the wholesale price on a gallon of gas is 15 cents.
With the summer quickly approaching, it appears the price of gas can only go up from here. Five hours would be brief the next time there’s a misplaced decimal point.